It can be captivating to listen to the story of someone who died but was resuscitated minutes later. There is a book by a pastor- 90 Minutes in Heaven-about his experience of dying and being in heaven only to be sent back. He also shares his experience of the long recovery after his accident. But the stories we hear or read about deal with some being dead for minutes.
The past two Tuesdays focused on the account of Lazarus in John 11 with the first one about Jesus delaying to go to Lazarus- Why Jesus Sometimes Delays- and the compassion Jesus has for us when we suffer- Jesus Cares about Us in Our Difficulties.
Today we focus on Jesus having power over death, but this account does not deal with someone who had been dead for minutes, or even hours. In this account the person was dead for FOUR Days.
Lazarus’ body had been laid in a tomb which was a cave that had a huge stone in front of it. Jesus walked to the tomb and gave the instructions:
“Take away the stone,”
Martha, sister of Lazarus, who only moments before expressed:
“But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Being human and in the heightened emotion of the situation she wavered in her faith and expressed concern. No one had come back from the dead after four days before that moment.
“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.”
BUT Jesus knew what he was about to do.
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
They took the huge stone away and Jesus prayed.
“Father, I thank you that you have 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.”
His prayer was not for himself. He prayed in front of all of the people for one purpose- that they may believe God the Father sent Jesus.
The purpose of everything in our lives when we trust Jesus in our difficulties is so people may believe God the Father sent Jesus.
Then with no hoopla, no theatrics like we might see with certain television ‘ministries’, Jesus simply gave a three word command.
“Lazarus, come out!”
The man who had been dead for FOUR Days came walking out of the tomb.
The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus gave instructions
“Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
The result was that many did believe in Jesus.
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
Some, however, had a different reaction that we will explore next week.
Jesus showed he has power over death. Can he help us with any problem?
Jesus showed he has power over death. Can he help you?
Side note- When I think about Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead after four days, I also think how the poor guy had to die again.
Thank you for reading. God Bless,