Saturday, April 12, 2014

John 11:38-45 (ESV)

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 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.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 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.”
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him

Have you ever really thought about life? We are all so busy with life, it is rare to have the time to think about life. Yet, as this Lent draws to a close, perhaps we would be well-served to think about what we all are experiencing right now: life! Your circumstances may be joyous, or fearful, or boring; but set your emotions to the side if you can. Just look around you. You are alive; you are in the midst of a grand universe, this awesome creation.

Chances are you are not hungry; if you are, food is likely in reach. Chances are you are inside of some shelter, perhaps one you own or rent. So, the elements of creation are at bay. Perhaps it is quiet. You are breathing, if you think of it; you can feel your body, if you think of it.

One thing you cannot do at this moment is die. Your death may be far off, or perhaps nearer. But for now, for this very moment, you are alive. You are surrounded by life, held up by life, infused with life. You may fear death, you may have seen death, but you have never experienced your death. For now, life exercises an authority over you.

You did not create this life you are living. Oh, you may have created your circumstances; but you did not create your being. Rather, it was given to you—God gave it to you.

God has given us life. And he has given us a promise: if we believe, we will see his glory; we will have eternal life.

The life we experience right now proves he can give life. Do you believe he can give eternal life?

Lord Jesus, we believe you are the Christ, the Son of God!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

John 11:28-37 (ESV)

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead is the last and greatest miracle he performs before he goes to the cross. This miracle stands as an example of the power of Jesus Christ in our lives – here and now! Mary, unlike Martha, was totally convinced that Jesus was the Messiah who was to come into the world to save those who believed in him. This is why she said; “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”(v. 32). She believed in him, completely. As soon as she said this, Jesus went directly to the tomb and performed this great miracle. Like Mary, we must have faith that God works in our lives every day. We must allow the grace of God to take hold in us and grow. God is not a god of the past or the future. He is the living God that always has been, is, and ever shall be with us!

Ezekiel, hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, during his vision of God raising his people from the dead in the Valley of the dry bones, prophesied saying: “Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live” (Eze. 37:9 ESV). Ezekiel foretells of the resurrecting power of God in all who believe. God raises us from a life in which we are dead and breathes new life into us. Let us all accept God’s offer of grace so that we may be resurrected from death into eternal life.

Father in Heaven, we pray that you breathe new life into us. Fill us with your amazing grace and bring us from death to life and reside in us forever. Amen.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

John 11:1-27 (ESV)

1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

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. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 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. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 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.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 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.

“Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” Bolder words have never been spoken. This claim that Jesus is making is difficult to comprehend, yet there is no waver or question to the absolute truth that He is proclaiming. That “whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” This statement by Jesus shows that death is not the end. Life is not done when we say our final words or take our last breath. There is a hope in this that cannot be squelched. The hope that life continues, the hope for something more, the hope that this life has meaning and is not just a mere flash in the pan.

The more time we spend in God’s Word, the more Jesus will come alive. We will see that God moves in ways that we can only begin to understand, and that His power and reach go far beyond what we think possible. Jesus is the hope of the world, our hope for eternal life and salvation. Just as Martha discovered in her life, we learn more and more about Jesus and who he truly is the deeper we go in our relationship with Him. God is not a God of distance, disconnection, or anything of that sort. He is an active God who walks with us each step of every journey in our lives.

Lord I give you thanks and praise for all you do, for overcoming death and the grave and dying for our sins. May I seek you more and more every day and have the faith to boldly proclaim that You are the resurrection and the life, and that whoever believes in You may die yet will live. Amen.