Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”
So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha said to Him,”I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” …….
Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth.
Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
John 11:1-44 NKJV (abridged)
Wow! This story is absolutely amazing, Jesus had some friends, people he hung out with from time to time, they were two sisters Martha & Mary and their brother Lazarus.
One day the sisters sent a message to Jesus saying, the one whom you love is sick, you can imagine how long it took for the message to get to Jesus, there were no gsm phones, internet connectivity etc, by the time Jesus got the message Lazarus was probably dead.
However on getting the message Jesus waited for another two days before setting out for Bethany where the family lived. By this time Lazarus had been dead for 4 days, the text above highlight the details of the incident and how it ended to the glory of God.
Sometimes when we read the scriptures we tend to think that the events we read were just stories but we need to understand that the people mentioned were real people and the incidents recorded actually happened as they are narrated.
This was what Luke was trying to get across to his friend and disciple Theophilus in the opening chapters of the letters he wrote to him (which we commonly call the Gospel of St Luke)
Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004
God wants me to share with you a word for your encouragement and blessing and let me say this upfront.
Jesus wants you to know that no matter how things may look and how impossible they are, so much so that it has become a stinking situation, there can be a resolution, a resurrection.
Jesus is the resurrection and the life and He has not changed.
Lazarus had been dead for a while, under the ferocious heat of the eastern climate, the body had decomposed quickly and badly. It was shut behind a stone sepulcher, a symbol of forlornness, impossibility and hopeless, that is until Jesus stepped in. Glory to God
Please listen to me, if Jesus could do this for his friends, he can do same for you, I just want to share with you some very important insights that can help you discover this same Jesus who raises the dead and restores life and hope.
Where are you right now? Are you holding a doctors report that reads like a death sentence? Do you have in your hands a certificate that spells the death of a relationship, a job, a life? Are you staring at economic ruin or coping with a family situation, a child on drugs, a spouse out of control? Whatever it is you are faced with, please listen, God cares
One of the things that struck me was the fact that Mary and Martha had no doubts about how Jesus felt about them; they said to him, the one you love is sick. It is hard to know that God cares if you have no relationship with him, how did they know that Jesus cared for them? He probably had told them that on occasion, he had visited with them a number of times.
Listen God loves you, love is the reason why Jesus came to the earth, love is the reason why he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. The bible says expressly
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son…
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Rom 5:8-9 Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004
The only reason why you have not known this love is because you have not known him, but you say, if God loves me why am I going through all these? Well Jesus loved Martha and we see what they went through, the sad reality is that in this world we will have our share of challenges, tests and trials, there is a devil here, a corrupt and evil system and a planet full of imperfect people.
Thank God Mary and Martha knew enough of Jesus to go to him in the time of their troubles, they trusted him, they were in an impossible place but they knew that with God nothing was impossible.
Please take the time to read through the story again, notice how Jesus kept on encouraging their faith in God’s power, he told them, ‘if you will believe you will see the glory of God’. This is one truth I have learnt, the power of God and his love never wanes, if we keep our eyes on him and stay strong in the confidence of his love and power, we will see the glory of God.
It is never too late for God to step into a situation, it may look like the marriage is dead and buried, the situation has gone beyond redemption, please don’t give up! Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, this is the message he has sent me to tell you. Trust Him till the end.
Nothing will strengthen your faith more than the thought that He cares, see, he does not care because you are holy and perfect, long before you knew him, he said ‘I love You’.
Mary and Martha called for help, in other words you could say they prayed, no long eloquent, grandiose prayers but from the heart. ‘Lord, please help, the one you love is sick.’
It may have looked like nothing was going to happen because Jesus took his time to get there, they got no cable from him saying ‘I am coming’ but they trusted him.
God hears the prayers you pray, he hears the faintest cry of your heart and the tears you shed.
Israel were in trouble in the land of Egypt, they groaned under the burden of Pharaoh and his taskmasters, the bible says God heard their groaning and remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These people were not praying to God, they didn’t know him but he knew them.
He heard their groaning and sent them a savior Moses!
Jesus is the response of the groaning of the hearts of men who suffer under the oppression of Satan, the world did not know Him but He knew them and heard their groaning, and their labor under the yoke of sin and Satan.
The reason why you are reading this today is because God has heard your groaning and seen your tears, He has sent Jesus to you and help is available.
Jesus can turn that stinking situation around but you need to let him in
One last thing
You need to remove the stone between Jesus and your dirty stinking situation
Lazarus was locked up in the tomb, its entrance sealed by the stone, Jesus said’ take away the stone’ the people protested ‘Lord by this time He stinketh’
Jesus said I am the restorer, remove the stone!
What does the stone mean today, it could be anything, it could be the bitterness and the unforgiveness, that thing that shuts away the pain, it could be unbelief, doubt and the thinking that negates the reality of and power of God. I believe the stone could be different things to different people, but you know what the stone is for you, remove it, allow God in, let His voice be heard in your situation.
Removing the stone is an act of faith, it exposes your vulnerability, it raises the possibilities of old wounds and pains reopening. What if nothing happens, the stench of your stinking situation will fill the place and your pain renewed all over again.
Will you trust Jesus? Will you allow your fears and insecurities keep you from the possibly of experiencing the glory of God?
Mary and Martha trusted the Lord , you can too!
Trust Him today with your life and whatever that stinking situation may be. He cares
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