Jesus Doesn’t Do Graveyards!
You may have heard someone say, ‘I don’t do windows’ or ‘I don’t do yard work, etc.’ Such statements are used to declare what a person is unwilling to do in a given situation. If Jesus had used such language He would have said, ‘I don’t do graveyards!’ It’s not that He was afraid of them; He just did strange things when He encountered death because every time Jesus crossed paths with a graveyard or a funeral procession He altered history. And He is still in the business of disrupting the dead. Let me make my case.
Mark 5:1-20 tells us that when Jesus arrived in the region of Gerasenes He encountered a man living in a graveyard. This living dead man was demonized, lost, hopeless and out of his mind. Jesus so altered his life that when the townspeople came out to the graveyard they found Jesus talking with this man who was now ‘clothed and in his right mind.’ Jesus gave new life to this living dead man!
And what about Mark 5:21-24? The text tells us that Jesus was asked to heal the ailing daughter of Jairus, but while on His way to her home He was providentially interrupted by a women in need. By the time Jesus arrived at Jairus’ home the little girl had died. Jesus raised her from the dead and restored joy and life to the home of some very distraught family members.
Or, consider John 11. The text recounts Jesus’ marvelous relationship with Martha and Mary, and how He raised their brother Lazarus from the dead. Again, Jesus received word that Lazarus was sick, but while on His way He was delayed. By the time Jesus arrived both family and professional mourners were heart-deep in grief over Lazarus’ death. Jesus called Lazarus by name – had Jesus not called him by name every dead man and woman would have come out of their graves. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead as proof positive that He is the resurrection and the life.
Luke 7:11-17 tells the story of the widow of Nain. With her son already dead and on the way to the graveyard, the widow of Nain was grieving with an unrequited grief. Jesus stopped the funeral procession and raised the boy from the dead. Again, Jesus restored life to the dead and gave joy to the grieving.
And what about His own death? Mark 15:42-47 notes that after Jesus was crucified He was buried in a borrowed tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the ruling council of Israel. Yet, Jesus could only tolerate the grave for three days. Mark 16:1 reminds us that on the first day of the week Jesus’ disciples arrived at the tomb only to find the stone rolled away and the body of Jesus missing. And where was His body? Mark 16:6 gives us the answer: ‘He is risen; He is not here.’ His death atoned for our sins; His resurrection triumphed over sin, death and hell.
But Jesus is not done in the graveyard. In the future, Jesus will once again disturb every graveyard on the planet. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 tells us that Jesus will one day return for His church. When He does return the Scripture states that the ‘dead in Christ will rise first…and so we will always be with the Lord.’ Jesus’ final blow against death will land and God will be all in all.
In the mean time, even now Jesus steps into the lives of the living dead and gives new life to those who are dead in their sins and joy to those who are grieved and burdened. In other words, Jesus is still stepping into the graveyards and funeral processions of life, disrupting the dead and decaying, giving life and giving it abundantly (Jn. 10:10). I’m so glad that ‘Jesus doesn’t do graveyards.’