By Rev Dr Edward Goh
Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 8:3 the only reason anyone can know God and love Him, is because we are known by Him. This is not an intellectual, but a personal and intimate knowing. Paul exclaims in verse 6, “yet for us, there is one God, the Father . . . and one Lord, Jesus Christ . . . .” This is what the Gospel has revealed to us. In troubled times, it’s a blessing to know this one God and to know we are known by Him.
When Christ was on earth, the Apostle John was one of His closest disciples and companions. In fact, in John’s Gospel, he would often talk about “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. Scholars believe John was referring to himself. At the last supper, we saw him sitting next to Christ, leaning on Christ. However, John was not saying among the twelve he was the one most loved by Christ. Rather John was expressing his intimate knowledge of Christ, how Christ has loved him deeply and personally, just as He loves every of His disciples.
This was how John described Lazarus too. Mary and Martha send words to Christ in John 11:3 saying, “Lord, he whom you loved is sick.” Lazarus’ sickness did not change the sisters understanding of who Larazas is. He is more than a brother to them. He is one whom Christ loved. Yet their brother was sick and dying. In their dire moment, armed with this knowledge of Christ, they had Christ to turned. What comfort these words bring to us, especially when we or our loved ones are sick!
Many are falling ill due to COVID 19. It is hard to see how sickness and God’s love can go together. Yet, this story tells us for a believer, sickness and even death come not because God does not love us. Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 3:23, “ . . . whether the world or life or death or things present or things to come, all things are yours, and you are Christ’s . . . .” Rather, they remind us of God’s love for us while we are still sinners living in a fallen world. Sickness points to the Gospel. May we find strength, comfort and hope in the Gospel, to hold ever more dearly to the Lord who loves us. In such times of uncertainty, we can be thankful to anchor our identity and certainty in Christ. Indeed, may others, as a result, come to know us as disciples whom Christ loved.