“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will never die.” John 11:25
There is something ominous about darkness – the shadows, the temptations, the grief. Darkness is the place of secrets and the breeding ground for fear. It heightens our senses and magnifies our emotions. Yet darkness is inescapable. It comes around in many forms, sometimes overtaking us.
Mary and Martha experienced this overwhelming sense of darkness in John 11. Their brother Lazarus had gotten sick. They sent word to Jesus, yet days passed, and he did not come. The sisters felt abandoned and overcome with grief. Their world was dark. They stumbled around for four days, trying to make sense of it all. Friends gathered to console them, but it wasn’t enough.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”
In that dark place, when tears were still fresh on the faces of Mary, Martha, and their friends, Jesus arrived to push back against the overwhelming darkness. He told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will never die.” But she thought he was only waxing theological.
Except Jesus doesn’t stop at mere words.
He wanted to reveal himself as the only light capable of defeating the darkness of death. So, he went to the tomb. He asked for the stone to be removed. Then he shouted some bold words: “Lazarus, come out!” And to the amazement of all those sorrowful souls, a man still covered in grave clothes waltzed out of the shadows into the brightness of day.
In that moment, Jesus embodied the light. He brought his presence into the darkness. He grieved alongside his friends and dried their tears. He healed their pain and renewed their joy. He restored life. That’s what light does. It illuminates the shadows and dispels the fears. It reveals our desires and balances our emotions. Light has a healing effect on the darkness that surrounds us.
But the story doesn’t end there.
The same light that Christ revealed to Mary and Martha when he raised Lazarus from the dead is available to us today through the power of his resurrection.
For just a short time later, Christ experienced the darkest place of his life on earth. He hung on a tree, separated from his father and betrayed by his people. With nails in his hands and thorns on his head, he carried the grief, sin and pain of all mankind. And it was there, on that tree, Christ died.
Yet three days later, the morning dawned anew, the sun crept out from behind the clouds, and like Lazarus, Christ emerged from the shadowy grave alive. Jesus once and for all revealed himself as the light of the world, the son of God, the resurrection and the life.
On that day Jesus overcame the darkness for us. No matter the grief, the despair, the hurt, or the pain we are carrying, he is here. He has arrived to walk with us, restore our hope and grant us life. Will you let Jesus be your light this Easter?