March 29, 2022
What does Lazarus, his sister Martha and Jesus have in common?
In John 11, we read of the event concerning Lazarus, Martha, and Jesus. Jesus and His disciples were ministering else where when the message came from Martha in verse 4 "Lord, behold, he whom You loved is sick." The message meant in today's language "Lord, come quick our brother Lazarus is bad sick." We read as the event takes place that Jesus delays their departure for two more days and then returns to be with the family. When He arrives, He is met by Martha and she tells Him that Lazarus has died. She questioned Jesus "if you had only been there." In other words, my brother and your friend would not have died if you were here for you could have healed him. Martha was grieving her brother's death. She had faith as long as her brother was alive, but now her faith failed as he is dead. Yet! There stood Jesus. The great hymn comes to mind about this event that says "He was four days late, but right on time." Yes, we should all remember that in life or death our faith in Jesus must never change. Doubt is the work of the devil attempting to get you to look down at your own self, your own weaknesses and all the while you forget to look up or look within to your Savior Jesus. Even with Jesus there, Martha let her faith fail. We hear her tell Jesus "I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." Jesus said to her "Your brother will rise again" for which she said to Him "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
Lazarus is dead and in the tomb. Martha is grieving and faith is failing. Then there is Jesus! Jesus said to her "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall neer die. Do you believe this?" Martha so distraught hears Jesus' words and her faith stop sinking and begins to awaken. Can Jesus do what can't be done in this world? Can He bring my brother back to life from the dead? Jesus tells Martha to take Him to the tomb, and tells the men to roll the stone from the entrance. People gather to watch and then hear Jesus call out to the dead in the graves all around the world, but He calls out only one name. Jesus says "Lazarus, come forth." Jesus call him by name and death had to let go. So the people hear some sounds from the cave/tomb of Lazarus, and then there comes Lazarus. He is still wrapped in his death clothes like a mummy. Jesus commands that "he be loosed." Lazarus is alive and returned from the dead to his sisters. Martha is overjoyed for the return of her brother. There stands Jesus! Remember when Jesus told Martha "I am the resurrection and the life." Yes, He is!! And He proved it again a week later by His own death upon the Cross for our sins and His resurrection three days later. We sing "Up from the grave he arose." For when Jesus came out of His own tomb to the glory of God, He proved to them and us today. Jesus is alive! He is alive and all authority has been given to Him even over death.
Conclusion: Today - there is you. Today - there is death. Today there is Jesus! If you do not have Jesus in your heart and life through your surrender of self to Him, then you are the walking dead. Then there is Jesus, who proved He has been all authority even over death. So the question is - do you wish to remain dead in your present life and one day awaken to God's holy judgment alone? Or, do you cry out to the one who can make you alive now and for all eternity? The only one who can free you from you sin debt and set you free for all eternity? Jesus cried out to Lazaras to come from the dead unto a new life. Jesus is calling for you today - will you hear Him and let Him save you to a new life with Him for all eternity? No one can make this choice for you. Don't hesitate for you are not promised tomorrow. There is you - there is death - there is Jesus! What will you do?
It was a remarkable thing that the man who was never to die, for whom God had ordained an infinitely better lot, the man who should be carried to heaven in a chariot of fire, and be translated, that he should not see death - should thus pray, "Let me die, I am no better than my fathers." We have here a memorable proof that God does not always answer prayer in kind, though he always does in effect. He gave Elias something better than that which he asked for, and thus really heard and answered him. Strange was it that the lion-hearted Elijah should be so depressed by Jezebel's threat as to ask to die, and blessedly kind was it on the part of our heavenly Father that he did not take his desponding servant at his word. There is a limit to the doctrine of the prayer of faith. We are not to expect that God will give us everything we choose to ask for. We know that we sometimes ask, and do not receive, because we ask amiss. If we ask for that which is not promised - if we run counter to the spirit which the Lord would have us cultivate - if we ask contrary to his will, or to the decrees of his providence - if we ask merely for the gratification of our own ease, and without an eye to his glory, we must not expect that we shall receive. Yet, when we ask in faith, nothing doubting, if we receive not the precise thing asked for, we shall receive an equivalent, and more than an equivalent, for it. As one remarks, "If the Lord does not pay in silver, he will in gold; and if he does not pay in gold, he will in diamonds." If he does not give you precisely what you ask for, he will give you that which is tantamount to it, and that which you will greatly rejoice to receive in lieu thereof. Be then, dear reader, much in prayer, and make this evening a season of earnest intercession, but take heed what you ask.