November 28 I Sunday

Ezekiel 33-34

1 Peter 5

“‘Take away the stone,’ [Jesus] said. ‘But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.’”

—John 11:39


Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. His sisters, Mary and Martha, are struck with grief as they mourn the loss of their beloved brother. When Jesus arrived to join them in Bethany, they told Him if He had been there, their brother would not have died. As comfort, Jesus told Martha, “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23). But those words did not offer solace to Martha who knew her brother would rise on the last day. At this, Jesus stated, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26). Jesus asked Martha a very personal question to which she answers, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:27). 

      When Jesus got to the tomb of Lazarus, He said, “Take away the stone.” In horror, Martha responded, ‘But, Lord, by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.” Jesus reassured her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:39-40). Martha was only relating to the physical, visible events that she could see. She was not relating to the spiritual, invisible events that she could not see. At that moment, Jesus was challenging Martha’s belief, whether she would be willing to be obedient, to walk by faith and not by sight. When we do that, we look beyond what we see to who we know. The event becomes Jesus’s business; it is Him whom we trust. 

      The stone was rolled away from Lazarus’s tomb. Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43). Out came a dead man walking with his hands and feet still wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. If every act of God is precipitated by an act of obedience, it is also true that every command of God has inherent within it the ability to obey. Lazarus was dead; he had no natural ability. “Come out!”—the life that is in Jesus’s Word brought life into Lazarus. 

      The physical resurrection of Lazarus gives us a picture of the spiritual resurrection. To be resurrected spiritually is to be born again of the Holy Spirit to receive the very life of God into our own hearts, lives and souls. It is coming into union with Him where everything that we are to enjoy in the Christian life derives from Christ Himself being united with us. 


Prayer: Precious Jesus, thank You for the union that I have with You. Set my eyes on the spiritual, invisible things, as I believe in Your truth, and walk in obedience. 

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