Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
John 11:23–27, ESV
For a faithful follower of Christ, death does not have the final say. At each and every funeral, I have to keep that in the forefront and remind everyone that is there that Christ’s blood and sacrifice have made all who believe into eternal beings. We do not enter into eternity in the broken vessels we bury but in the vessels God had originally intended, free from sin and the smell of death. From the moment we are born, we have the reek of death upon us. But in Christ, we rise! As Mary and Martha are at the tomb of their brother Lazarus weeping, we are reminded of the promises our Lord Jesus Christ makes to all who believe and how, even then, we still let the old mentalities cling to us. As Jesus was preparing to call Lazarus out just prior to opening the tomb, we heard the words reminding us of the odor of death. In Christ, that odor will not remain in eternity. Those who die in Him and have their names written in the Book of Life will not know the eternal stench that comes in the second death but will have the Kingdom open before them. When we profess, as Martha did, we find the confession of faith that brings us hope as we know that the words spoken at Lazarus’ tomb are spoken clearly to us. We can be confident that the baptism we received has washed away that odor and given us the hope that lies eternal and continually cleanses us of the stain that tries to cling to our lives. We are called to live daily in this promise and proclaim it to all who are dying that they may also live.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.