Tag Archives: words
What have we seen in this tremendous chapter? We have seen a strange response by Jesus to a dying friend. He lets him die. We have seen Jesus and His disciples risking their lives to go to this family’s side after Lazarus has passed away, when it was “too late,” one might say.
We have heard a lot of words from Jesus about this catastrophe not ending in death. But Lazarus was clearly dead and had been in the grave for four days. There has been a discussion of eschatology, specifically a future resurrection of Jesus’ dead friend. And the Lord has focused upon the cruciality of belief. Let’s notice what happens next . . .
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 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.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
We read that, after He had prayed to the Father, Jesus spoke. Rather He shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” (v. 43). The tomb is open, the stone already having been removed. And the text tells us that “The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.” (v. 44).
Hopping. He must have been hopping, for his feet were probably wrapped together. And he couldn’t see. His face was covered with a cloth. Maybe he bumped against the sides of the cave a couple of times. His hands weren’t free to reach out and feel his way as he exited the tomb. What an awkward way for Lazarus to meet his Lord!
Jesus merely spoke or shouted the words, “Lazarus, come out!” What powerful words from the Word of God! Jesus could have (days before) kept His friend from dying. And right now He could have simply thought His friend out of the tomb. But Jesus spoke. He didn’t have to use His words. But those observing needed to see the connection between Jesus and a dead man being raised from the dead. His words are powerful. What power do His words have in your life? (to be continued)
Words . . . and . . . works. How does one relate to the other? Jesus is given a great opportunity to rescue His friend Lazarus from death. And He chooses not to.
Instead He speaks words. The One who came to heal the sick and raise the dead is, apparently, deciding to do the latter rather than the former.
Let’s look at our section of John 11 once more and then make several observations …
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
Jesus is being summoned to action and instead He stays and makes a speech. He delivers an astounding prediction: “This sickness will not end in death.” (v. 4). There are at least two ways that a sickness, a serious sickness, won’t “end in death,” it seems to me: (1) The sickness is cured; (2) the person dies but doesn’t stay dead. Death is not the final result; it isn’t the conclusion of the matter. Jesus didn’t say that Lazarus wouldn’t die. He said “This sickness will not end in death.”
Let’s think for a moment about the amazing declaration Jesus makes. “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Only God can authoritatively declare why something is occurring. We know so little. Our insight is so narrow, so time-bound, so polluted by circumstances and feelings. But God can say why something, something terrible, is taking place. He may not always tell us why, but He knows. And the fact that we don’t know doesn’t make the moment or experience we’re going through meaningless.
Words . . . or . . . works? Which seems more suited to this event? Our perspective is so limited. All we can really do is . . . trust. (to be continued)
STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #1- Salvation, continued)
Sometimes Christians get STUCK on the issue of SALVATION. Really. Getting saved in the Bible seems pretty straightforward. Living out one’s salvation (“continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling“, Phil. 2:12) is another matter.
In this series of messages for Crossroads Fellowship Church I am focusing on ten areas which bog down the believer. Let’s look at our text on salvation one more time:
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3)
As a result of His saving work in our lives, we have become HEIRS and ought to DEVOTE OURSELVES to doing what is good (v. 8). So often the Christian’s life is a bunch of words! In the Broadway play “My Fair Lady,” the main character sings the following: “Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words. I get words all day through . First from him, now from you ! Is that all you blighters can do?” Then she sings, “Sing me no song, read me no rhyme , Don’t waste my time, show me! Don’t talk of June, don’t talk of fall , Don’t talk at all! Show me!” [There is one more stanza which reads: “Haven’t your arms, hungered for mine? Please don’t ‘explain,’ show me, show me! Don’t wait until wrinkles and lines, Pop our all over my brow, show me now!”]! We must SHOW our salvation by the DEEDS that we do!
A song of ascents.
1 I call on the Lord in my distress,
and he answers me.
2 Save me, Lord,
from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues.
3 What will he do to you,
and what more besides,
you deceitful tongue?
4 He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows,
with burning coals of the broom bush.