Coping with Life Issues

Faith Matters . . .

Ultimate Hope ... Return from Death to Life

Victory over Death

In the village of Bethany there was a man named Lazarus who lived with his sisters, Mary and Martha. It was Mary who poured perfume on the Lord's feet and dried them with her hair. Now Lazarus was stricken with a severe illness. . The sisters sent an urgent message to Jesus that said, ‘Lord, Your best friend is extremely ill!’

When Jesus received the news He declared,
“This sickness is not to be consumed by death; it will demonstrate the glory of God’s Son and bring honour to God.”

However after Jesus had received the news, although He dearly loved Martha, her sister and Lazarus, He remained where He was for another two days before He discussed it with His disciples.

Finally, He made the announcement,
“Let’s go back to Judea again”

“Master,” the disciples anxiously replied, “only a few days ago the Jews were trying to kill You. Surely You’re not going to go back there again!”

Jesus response was difficult to comprehend,
“Aren’t there twelve daylight hours every day? A man doesn’t stumble if he makes his way during the day-time, for he can see in the daylight. But if he walks at night he trips over because he can’t generate light within himself to see where he is going.”

Having said these words Jesus paused before speaking again.

Then He astounded His disciples with the words,
“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m going to wake him up,”

“Lord, if he has fallen asleep he will recover,” the disciples responded.

However Jesus was talking about his death, but they thought that he was speaking of deep natural sleep.

“Lazarus is dead,” Jesus said plainly. “For your sake I’m glad that I wasn’t there so that you may learn how to believe. Now, let us go to him.”

Thomas (known as Didymus, or the Twin) then pessimistically spoke to the others.
“Well, let's go along with Him! We may as well die with him.”

When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he found that Lazarus had already been in his grave four days.

Now Bethany was close to Jerusalem (a little over three kilometers away) and many of the Jews had come to comfort Martha and Mary at the loss of their brother. However as soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet Him; but Mary sat quietly at home.

“Lord!” Martha cried when she met Jesus. “If you’d only been here my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now I know God will give You whatever You ask of Him.”

“Your brother will rise again,” Jesus gently told her.

“I know He will come to life in the resurrection at the last day", Martha sadly replied.”

“I am the resurrection, and the life,” Jesus quietly said to her. “He who believes in Me shall live, even though he dies. Everyone who is alive and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes Lord,” Martha softly replied. “I have believed that You are the Messiah, the Son of God who was to come into the world.”

Having said this she left and went to get Mary her sister.

“The Master is here and is asking for you,” she whispered.

When Mary heard this she quickly got up and went to him, for Jesus had not come into the village, but had remained where Martha had met Him.

Because of Mary's sudden departure, the Jews who were with her in the house trying to console her, followed her believing that she was going to the grave to weep. However, Mary went out to the place where Jesus was, and when she saw Him, she collapsed at His feet.

“Lord!” she sobbed, “if only You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”

When Jesus saw Mary weeping, accompanied by the wailing of the Jews, He was deeply moved and visibly distressed.

“Where have you buried him?” Jesus quietly asked them.

“Lord, come and see,” they replied.

Jesus began to weep openly as they spoke to Him .

“Look how much He loved him!” the Jews whispered to one another.

However some of them were indignant.
“This fellow cured that blind man,” they murmured. “Why couldn’t He have prevented this man from dying?”

Jesus was again deeply moved by these words as He approached the tomb; a cave with a large stone across its entrance.

“Remove the stone!” Jesus commanded.

Martha, the deceased's sister objected. ““Lord! He has been dead four days and by now the stench will be terrible!”

“Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God demonstrated”. Jesus said to her.”

When they rolled the stone away Jesus looked toward heaven and began to pray. “Father, “thank You for hearing Me. Even though I always know that You listen to Me, what I’ve just said was for the sake of these people standing here, so that they may believe that You really did send Me.”

And when He said this He called out loudly,

“Lazarus, come out here!”

Suddenly, the man who had died, came struggling out, bound hand and foot by his grave-clothes with his face wrapped in a towel.”

Jesus quietly told them, "Unbind him and let him go!”

Everyone's Friend pp. 79-81
The everyday life of Jesus, (John 11:1-45)


Faith Matters