Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Death of Lazarus

October 29: John 11

1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.

5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. . . . 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe.

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. . . . 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” . . . 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
John 11:1, 5-6, 11-15, 17, 21-22 & 25-27

Death of Lazarus

It is very hard to truncate John 11 without leaving out important details, so I urge you to take the time to read the entire chapter.

Jesus had a very important reason for the death of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. How do I know this? Read verse 6: So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Does that not seem strange to you? When we hear of the serious illness of a dear friend or relative, we normally want to go immediately to see them. Then, in verses 14 and 15, Jesus states to his disciples, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe." Jesus states, "So that you may believe."

As Jesus approaches the village, Martha comes running to meet him saying, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”

Look at the testimony of Martha, later on in verse 27. Jesus explained that He was the resurrection and the life, and then asks Martha if she believes that. Martha responds, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” No wonder Jesus had such great love for Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

As the story unfolds, we find that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Nothing, however, is impossible for God. Jesus called out, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” (John 11:41b-43)

Then what happened? The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

How does this story of the death of Lazarus apply to Christians today? Jesus clearly used this event to reveal to Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and the other people gathered to reveal that He indeed was the Son of God, the Savior of His people. Is this the Christ that you love with all of your heart? Do you truly believe that He is not only the Son of God and Savior of His people, but also that He is your Savior as well?

What powers do you attribute to Christ? Is He limited in any way by mans' attitudes toward Him, including their unbelief? As you go about your duties this day, I challenge you to live this day in total confidence that the Lord Jesus Christ not only walks beside you, but is in complete control of your life!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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