Welcome once again friends. Join me today in returning to what is really important, the words and teachings of Jesus.
Today I want to look at an amazing story full of life lessons. I am talking about John chapter 11, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. I will not write it all out, I do however encourage you to read the story in its entirety if you have time. It is John 11:1-44.
Lazarus was Mary and Martha's brother, that is Mary Magdalene. The sisters send word to Jesus telling him “Lord the one you love is sick”. Rather than going to heal him Jesus tells them “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's son may be glorified through it”. Then he remains where he was for two more days. Finally he says to his disciples “let us go to Judea”. Now he had a recent attempt on his life in Judea, the Jews had attempted to stone him to death. So his disciples are concerned for his safety and try to talk him out of going. In verse II Jesus says “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going to wake him up”. Again they try to talk him out of it by saying “Lord if he sleeps he will get well”. So Jesus tells them plainly “Lazarus is dead and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him”.
Then Thomas who is called doubting Thomas by many shows amazing faith and courage. He says to the other disciples “Let us go also, that we may die with him”. He believed that for Jesus to return to Judea was a death sentence, that Jesus was going to die to mourn a friend. But rather than abandon Jesus, he says, let us go and die with him. That was not what happens but that doesn't matter Thomas believed it would but faced that courageously.
Now when Jesus arrives Lazarus is dead and entombed four days past. Mary and Martha are inconsolable. Friends are there comforting them. Jesus even tries to comfort Martha in verse 23, he tells her “Your brother will rise again”. She responds “I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day”. So he tries once more “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe the?” She says “Yes Lord, I believe that you are the messiah, the son of god, who is to come into the world”.
All this occurs outside the village. As Jesus comes into the village Mary comes running out of the house where she had been mourning with friends. She runs to Jesus and falls down at his feet and says “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died”. When Jesus saw her weeping and the friends who came with her weeping, he was deeply moved for their pain, in the spirit he was troubled.
Lets look at this. Jesus is not upset that Lazarus is dead because to Jesus Lazarus isn't dead but about to be raised to life. He is troubled because he looks around and sees people he loves in pain and their pain pains him so much that “Jesus wept” John 11:35. That is the shortest verse in the bible but it says so much. It says that he loves us so intensely that he not only care how we feel but that he hurts when we hurt, he weeps when we weep. You are not alone in your grief and sadness in life, the Son of God, your Lord, your savior, and your friend is weeping with you. Isn't that the most awesome and amazing thing!!
Anyhow...The Jews see Jesus weeping and they say “Look how he loved him”. They believe that he is weeping for Lazarus. Now comes the miracle Jesus tells them “Take away the stone” There was a large stone covering the mouth of the tomb, to keep animals out but more importantly the smell of decay in. Martha even tells Jesus “But Lord by this time there is bad odor. He has been in there four days”. All she has seen all he said and she still doesn't really believe. Jesus again tells her “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God”.
So they take away the stone and Jesus says “Father I thank you that you heard me. 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”. Then he calls out loudly “Lazarus come out” and out of the tomb came Lazarus no longer dead but living!!!!
So friends we have a all powerful, loving friend, lord and savior, who is always there for us and who feels our pain so deeply that he weeps when we weep. I don't know about you but no matter where I am, what I am going through, what I think or how I feel when I realize that he is with me and that I am not alone I cannot help but to praise God for his goodness!!
Please join me next week for more of Jesus' teachings. Have a blessed day.