By Joel Luckemeyer
“Lord, if you would have been here, my brother would not have died.” In John 11 two sisters named Martha and Mary both said these words to Jesus as they grieved the loss of their brother Lazarus. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God. They believed that Jesus could have prevented the death of their brother with His divine power. Martha even said to Jesus in verse 27, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” Yet, Jesus allowed Lazarus to die.
Unless you lived through the Spanish flu over 100 years ago, you have never encountered anything like what we are going through with this coronavirus pandemic. If you believe in God, and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you may still be wondering why God is allowing this to happen throughout the world. Does God care that hospitals are overwhelmed? Does He care that people who have weaker immune systems are being hit the hardest with this virus? Does He care that people are being laid off? Does He care that people are now struggling with depression that hits when life is turning upside down? Does He care when anyone person dies whether it is from the coronavirus, other diseases, hunger, violence, accidents, or even just old age? According to a 2017 UN report on death statistics, in 2015, 155,224 people died each day. I do not know if that even includes abortion. So why does God allow death to happen?
Many of you reading this column probably already know what happened when Jesus went to Lazarus’ tomb. If not, spoiler alert! Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Soon after this astonishing account of Jesus’ life, Jesus Himself died. But He didn’t stay dead. In fact, according to the Apostle Paul, Jesus appeared more than 500 people at one time after His death and Resurrection! (1 Corinthians 15:6). God’s answer to death is to believe in the one He sent, His Son Jesus Christ. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Just as Lazarus walked out of the Tomb on Christ’s command, I know that when Christ commands it for me I to will be raised from the dead.
For the believer this doesn’t give us permission to be callous to our government’s plea to stay home. In fact, we should follow Jesus’ example and be compassionate at this time. Fully knowing that He would raise Lazarus from the dead, Jesus was greatly troubled and wept at the grief of Lazarus’ sisters (John 11:33-35). So, take care of yourselves at this time. Be careful and conscientious of others. Pray for God’s help. Pray for those who are sick. Pray for our doctors and nurses. Pray for our grocery store clerks. Pray for our nation and the world. But by all means, do not be afraid! After all, the season of Easter is upon us, and the good news of Jesus must be proclaimed. Jesus Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Joel Luckemeyer is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church. He may be reached by calling 559-592-4070.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.