Many of us have lost loved ones to death—family members, friends, members of our church family. And understandably, we grieve that loss. Grief and death go together. But as Christians, our grief should be tempered, because if our loved one died in faith, the Bible assures us that we will see him or her again one day, when God calls us home (John 14:2-3). Through the eyes of faith, God calls us to a confident assurance that we will see our loved ones again, even though we can’t see them right now. How can we have such confidence? In the gospels, we have an incident in Jesus’ life where he teaches us how to face the death of a loved one with confident hope that one day he or she will live again.
In Mark chapter 5, a synagogue official named Jarius implores Jesus to come heal his little girl, who is close to death. Unfortunately, at that moment, they are informed that his daughter has already died. But Jesus says to Jarius, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe” (v. 36). The people surrounding Jairus were consumed by the dark circumstances surrounding the little girl’s death. All they could talk about was the tragedy of her untimely passing. They were focused on the hurt. But Jesus wanted Jairus to focus on the healer. He ignored the despair of the crowd and invited Jairus to do the same.
Jesus didn’t want Jairus to listen to only the audible and see only the visible. He wanted Jairus to have eyes of faith. He wanted Jairus to believe that there is more to life and death than meets the eye. Sometimes faith begins in your life by shutting your ears to the despair and unbelief of those without faith. God wants us to act before we see! That is called faith! The Holy Spirit defines faith this way: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
When we begin focusing on the Healer, then we are ready for the next step. We need to look at death from the Healer’s perspective, rather than a human one. From Jesus’ perspective, the girl wasn’t dead, just asleep (Mark 5:38-40). Sleep isn’t a permanent condition, and to God, neither is death. It’s just a necessary step in passing from this world to the next. Death is not an end, it is a beginning. That’s what the Bible teaches (1 Corinthians 15:50).
When we see death, we see disaster. When Jesus sees death, he sees deliverance. However, on this occasion, instead of waking this little girl up in heaven, Jesus chose to wake her up again in the world. He did so that we might learn to see with eyes of faith. God knows that you and I must often walk in darkness, and that faith doesn’t come easily or naturally. God knows that we need the assurance that death is not the last act.
Jesus raised this little girl not as a promise that he would do the same for every loved one who dies. Rather, he raised her as a sign that he can and will restore life to our believing loved ones in heaven. We will see them again. Jesus has power over death. That brings us great comfort, for what we know Jesus can do—that is, to raise the dead—he has promised to do at the end of time. That’s the Healer’s perspective: death is temporary, resurrection is coming, life is forever!
If you look at death from God’s perspective, you too can see with eyes of faith. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “…while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and if you will place your trust in him, he will raise you from the dead one day, just as he did Jairus’ daughter.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Don’t despair when a believer dies. (Grieve, yes, but don’t despair—they’re with Jesus.) If you need help with how to better handle the loss of a loved one learn more here and get in touch with our GriefShare Ministry.
- Share the gospel with friends and loved-ones. Pray for God to save them.
- If you have not trusted Christ—do so! There’s too much at stake (Luke 11:23). If you would like to know God personally, contact us here. Scroll down to the Ministry Information Request section and mark the first or second checkbox. We look forward to helping!
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)