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The study of Lazarus, VIII
pastor corner

Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke

Jesus has come. Lazarus is dead. Martha and Mary, sisters of the deceased, have now confronted their dear friend concerning His absence during their greatest trial. Emotions are raw. I think many of us can probably relate to such a situation. Maybe some of you have been stressed beyond your faith, beyond your patience, certainly beyond your understanding.

Possibly you have spoken harshly to a friend or loved one. Loss and desperation often travel together, and when they arrive at your house, sparks often fly and feelings get hurt. Things are said which might never be uttered except in extreme sorrow and pain. Relationships sometimes never recover from these moments.

Both sisters poured out their deepest feelings of anguish, and perhaps even anger. “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21,32).

Instead of responding in some defensive manner, Jesus uses this opportunity to teach us about life and death. A revealing lesson on future events occurs with Martha. Jesus says, “Thy brother shall rise again” (11:23). He then leads her to a deeper understanding of who He really was. He was not just a good friend, but He was (and still is) the resurrection and life.

What does this mean for us? To have the power of Christ in you through faith in Him is to live and never die (11:26). This does not mean that your fleshly body will not die, but your soul and spirit lives on. To leave this world through the portal of death is but to transfer your soul to another place of life. Remember the story Jesus gave of the rich man and the beggar (another guy named Lazarus) in Luke 16 and what happened after death.

The beggar was transported to a place of comfort and rest. Not so for the rich man. His wealth was not the problem, but his failure to seek the will of God for his life was.

Never doubt the truth of God’s word. Jesus gave the sisters hope that Lazarus would live again, but I am not sure they believed he would come back from the grave so quickly. Jesus was about to do a work so amazing that even scoffers would have to admit the truth of His claim to be the Son of God. Will you accept His position as a Savior to the world? Will you believe He rose from the dead 3 days after dying for your sins? Do you believe He is returning for true believers? The choice is yours.

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