The following is a short preview of my upcoming ebook, His Name Shall Be Called, an Advent devotional exploring the names of Christ. I’d love for you to join in on the full study upon its release. Find out more here.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?'” -John 11:25-26, ESV
When Jesus said these words and proclaimed this name for all of us, He was standing at the grave of a dear friend, talking to a grieving sister. This passage contains the shortest verse in the Bible. Two little words that share the heart of God, “Jesus wept.”
His heart is open and vulnerably sharing that pain we feel over death.
We feel this pain every day. We see attacks on the news, witness car accidents, and sit with loved ones as they take their last breath. One moment they’re here and the next, we stare into blank eyes and know, they are gone.
Our hearts were not built to bear this pain. Our minds were not made to comprehend the “Why?” we find ourselves asking. Death was not meant to be part of our experience on this Earth.
When Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend, we see that we are not alone in our pain. God did not create us for a world filled with death, so He came Himself to conquer it.
He humbled Himself to death on a cross but that was not the end of the story. When He rose, He gave us the hope of life. Death lost its hold on this world.
But we still live in that funny, “already, not yet” moment where we are waiting to see the full implication of this name of Christ. We saw Him defeat death by raising Lazarus from the grave. We know that He Himself was raised to life 3 days after His death. But we still have heartache, sometimes, more during this season than any other time of year.
We long for the friend, who suffered so bravely before the cancer claimed her body. We miss the grandmother whose mind succumbed alzheimer’s disease years before her body left this world. We mourn the little one who was the victim of that terrible accident. All is not right.
Sometimes, I fear that we try to stifle this feeling of not right.
We pretend its okay and try to move forward pretending that the world is magically okay. But Advent calls us to remember that it is most certainly not okay. But maybe when we acknowledge the areas that need to be redeemed, we revive our hearts to long again for the Redeemer and to marvel at the Creator’s plan to restore all of creation.
When we look at the world, instead of seeing only pain and death, we need to see where life will be redeemed and renewed.
Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. We may not see it yet but, as we look to the manger and remember the longing of the Israelites, let us long for the day when He will raise our physical bodies to live again and we will dwell with Him forever. We need to humble ourselves like the shepherds, kneeling beside the manger, realizing that something beautiful is about to happen.
Today, we know something that no one standing beside Christ when He proclaimed His name, the Resurrection, knew. We know what the shepherds never imagined, that Christ has risen from the dead and has trampled Death.
I hope you enjoyed this preview of His Name Shall Be Called. To sign-up to receive your free copy upon its release, click here.