He’s Still Risen! – part 4 of 4

18 Bethany was about two miles from Jerusalem. 19 Many of the Jews had come there to comfort Martha and Mary about their brother.
20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you anything you ask.” 23 Jesus said, “Your brother will rise and live again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know that he will rise and live again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will have life even if they die. 26 And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Martha, do you believe this?” 27 Martha answered, “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the One coming to the world.”
28 After Martha said this, she went back and talked to her sister Mary alone. Martha said, “The Teacher is here and he is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to Jesus. 30 Jesus had not yet come into the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews were with Mary in the house, comforting her. When they saw her stand and leave quickly, they followed her, thinking she was going to the tomb to cry there.
32 But Mary went to the place where Jesus was. When she saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw Mary crying and the Jews who came with her also crying, he was upset and was deeply troubled. 34 He asked, “Where did you bury him?” “Come and see, Lord,” they said. 35 Jesus cried.
36 So the Jews said, “See how much he loved him.”37 But some of them said, “If Jesus opened the eyes of the blind man, why couldn’t he keep Lazarus from dying?” 38 Again feeling very upset, Jesus came to the tomb. It was a cave with a large stone covering the entrance.
39 Jesus said, “Move the stone away.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “But, Lord, it has been four days since he died. There will be a bad smell.” 40 Then Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they moved the stone away from the entrance. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. 42 I know that you always hear me, but I said these things because of the people here around me. I want them to believe that you sent me.” 43 After Jesus said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with pieces of cloth, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take the cloth off of him and let him go.” John 11:17-44, NCV)

This devotion is the fourth of four based on my Easter 2020 Sunday message. The idea is that Christ performed three resurrections foreshadowing His own. Each one points to His own resurrection to give us hope in our daily lives. He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! This devotion focuses on the raising of Lazarus and two miracles that happened that day.

The first miracle was the raising of Lazarus himself, which is a sign of what Jesus will do for us. Jesus himself explained this to His disciples: “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned” John 5:24-29 (NIV). Notice that Lazarus was dead and in the grave, but he heard Jesus, shout, “‘Lazarus, come out!’ And the dead man came out” John 11:43-44 (NLT).

This is a sign for all believers as to what Jesus will do for us. As the apostle was facing martyrdom, he wrote to his co-worker Timothy: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” 2 Timothy 4:8. The word “appearing” refers to those who loved Christ’s first Advent in their earthly lives, and then, of course, will rejoice with Christ when He comes again.

What is the second miracle that happened? It is for us, right now, wherever we’re at and whatever we are going through! Martha started the day with pain and doubt, but ended the day with an awesome faith in what Christ can do. She was focused on what she had lost, not what Christ could give her. She had envisioned the situation differently—Jesus coming in time to heal Lazarus. It’s encouraging to know that God’s plans are not our plans. He delivers us from our plans, and His plans turn out for good. And it’s good to know the compassion that God feels—“Jesus wept” (John 11:35, NIV). A similar pattern of living faith emerges (like what we saw with Jairus):

Martha’s, Mary’s and Jairus’ work of faith was this:

  • To see that one’s hope is in Christ and Christ alone,
  • To come to Christ for help—casting one’s cares upon Jesus,
  • To wait upon the Lord for His answer, according to His will.

“If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32, NIV)