Lazarus was sick. Maybe it was staying out late fishing in the rain that turned his cold to the worst. Maybe the infected cut on his hand from mending the nets had turned to gangrene, or a pounding ache in his head that won’t go away. But now, his sisters Mary and Martha had exhausted their salves and home remedies. They sent for Jesus. They needed the Healer.
But Jesus didn’t show up. It wasn’t for lack of love for Lazarus, but because he loved him. He wanted Lazarus to experience God’s glory.
When Jesus finally made his way to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Mary and Martha’s grief overwhelmed them. They both came to him with questions…
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (Luke 11:21 and 32).
Lovingly, Jesus met them in their pain. He mourned death. He wept. But Jesus knew something they didn’t know. Jesus knew about belief so strong that it conquers death. Jesus knew about resurrection and life — real life.
At the tomb, Jesus showed them.
He told them to roll away the stone.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (Luke 11:39-40)
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Oh, how many times I have faced a brother’s tomb and come to Jesus with questions?
When a brother betrays his wife with years of a secret addiction; when a brother takes a joy-ride in his father’s sports car and kills his best friend in the accident; when a brother smiles, but in the end sees no option but to end his own life…
I ask, “Where were you, Jesus? Couldn’t you have seen what was happening and stopped it? Couldn’t you have stepped in? You’ve healed others, why not my brother!”
Patiently he tells me roll away the stone of my doubts. Gently, he asks me to believe. Quietly he whispers.
“I know it hurts. Remember Gethsemane? But I know how the story ends. It’s for God’s glory. Trust me. The grave is not the end.”
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (Luke 11:25-26).
This, friends, is the beauty of Easter.
What a wonderful Savior.
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boy walking photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
empty tomb photo credit: icr.org
Check out Institue for Creation Research for an article on the impact of the empty tomb. It’s a great read!