John 11.18-19 cont.
18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, nearly two miles away.
19 Now many Jews had come to Martha and Mary so that they might comfort them over their brother.
6 As many as possible attended the funeral and joined in the period of mourning. This is why there were many Jews from Jerusalem who were still with Mary and Martha when Jesus arrived. Lazarus must have been well respected and popular, since many came from the city to comfort Mary and Martha.
7 The women led the funeral procession. The reason for this is that it was by a woman, Eve, that sin entered into the world, and, therefore, death.
8 At the tomb speeches would be made regarding the deceased person.
9 During the first seven days (known as the period of deep mourning) the mourners were not allowed to anoint themselves, wash themselves with cold or warm water, put on shoes or do any kind of studying.
There were a number of other customs that accompanied a funeral and the thirty day period of mourning.
It was a mourning process that was designed to help the bereaved come to terms with the loss of a loved one.
The whole process is one of God’s people displaying His compassion for the bereaved.
During the period of mourning there would be times of silence, during which the bereaved would be silently grieving, coming to terms with the trauma of their loss.
This silence was only broken when the bereaved nodded to indicate that they were ready to be comforted. Then those gathered would offer their consolation.
We all have to deal with the death of loved ones. We all deal with it in different ways.
The promise of Jesus is: “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted” – Matthew 5.4 (NLT).
We are comforted in a few ways.
1 We know that promise of Jesus to always be with us and never to forsake us.
2 The assurance that those who die believing in Jesus have gone to the place that Jesus has prepared for them.
3 The presence of God’s people around us is to bring to us His compassion and consolation.
Most times we are going to be the carriers of our Father’s compassion and consolation to those who mourn. At other times we will be blessed to receive this from our brothers and sisters in Jesus.