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Daily Devotional • April 1

Hannah Howland
Easter People
A Reading from the Gospel of John 11:28-44

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Jesus is asked two very important questions in John 11:28-44. He is asked questions that echo from the lips of Christ-followers to this day: couldn’t Jesus have stopped this from happening? We all have a different “this” but we all have asked or are in the midst of asking why couldn’t the powerful God I know prevent it. When we walk the road of following Jesus for any extended amount of time, we begin to learn that more often that not resurrection is the chosen means of God. Resurrection — the triumphant swallowing of death into life — is par for the course. 

When Jesus hung on a cross, those who watched asked him a similar question to the one we find here in John 11: if you were the Son of God couldn’t you get off this cross? Those who watched Jesus die and asked that question did not yet comprehendGod’s proclivity for resurrecting things and people and the world. All throughout Israel’s scriptures we encounter the resurrection of that which was truly dead: barren wombs spring forth with life, those discounted as youngest or least stand central in the plot, an exiled and enslaved people become the chosen vehicle for God’s purposes. 

 On the cross God forever answered the question of how he works in the world — through resurrection. We are not glib as we await resurrection, but we are patient. We are those who await the resurrection of all things with the bated breath of a people who have come to know the spectacular redemptive modus operandi of God. We truly are an Easter people. 

Hannah Howland lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, Curtis. She is in her final semester at Duke Divinity School and worships at All Saints Anglican Church.

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Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Diocese of South Rwenzori – The Church of the Province of Uganda
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