“Again-Rising And Life” ( John 11:25, WYC ) by Carley Evans


English: Raising of Lazarus by Jesus

Jesus speaks in analogy or parable quite often, but before asking Lazarus to wake up from death and come out of the tomb, He tells Martha, Lazarus’ sister: “I am again rising and life; he that believeth in me, yea, though he be dead, he shall live.” Jesus does not tell Martha a story meant to represent something else; rather, He tells her the truth – that He is eternal; that, despite death, He lives forever; that, belief in Him results in this same eternal life.

Don’t you wonder how Jesus stays out of the pits where the lepers live? How is it no one throws Him in with those society hates? Well, yes, His neighbors do attempt toss Him over a cliff; but in general, especially today, Jesus is called “a great teacher.” A great teacher? Jesus is not a great teacher if He is not God. He claims to be God, the One and Only God. Jesus either tells us the truth – that He is God – or He’s crazy. Why does anyone listen to an insane man?

Jesus gains the ears of modern theologians – who may or may not believe in His divinity –  because He demonstrates God’s glory and displays God’s power of “again-rising and life.”

“Unless You Turn” ( Matthew 18: 4, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Jesus’ disciples feign wanting to know “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1) Imagine them looking at one another, thinking – for example – “Surely I’m better than Matthew; after all, he’s a tax collector!” – or – “I’ve got to be greater than Judas; after all, he complains about wasting an expensive ointment, pretending he cares for the poor.” Martha must think, “I’m better than Mary.” After all, Martha complains about her sister, Mary – implying that she is lazy. Martha wants Jesus to rebuke her for sitting at His feet while she prepares the meal. Peter even briefly appears to think he’s better than Jesus, rebuking Jesus for saying that He will be killed and rise from the dead. “Far be it from You, Lord! This will never happen to You.” (Matthew 16:22)

When they ask Him about being the greatest in the kingdom of God, Jesus shows His disciples a child. He tells them that “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus calls us to turn and become like children. Sounds similar to turning back the clock, perhaps wiping the slate clean and starting over from a place of innocence and great humility. We are to think better of others than we do of ourselves; treat others as we would wish to be treated. We are not to put stumbling blocks in the way of others; or lead others into temptation. Jesus warns, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened about his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,” says Jesus. “For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

“Death Defying Feat” ( John 11: 25, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“Jesus says, ‘ I Am the resurrection and I Am life. If a man has faith in Me, even though he die, he shall come to life; and no one who is alive and has faith shall ever die.’ “

 

Here Jesus does seem to be saying that with a proper amount of faith, one need not die. And of course, since Jesus says that faith as small as a mustard seed can accomplish the placement of a mountain into the sea, it does seem possible to forestall or perhaps completely eliminate death.

 

Nevertheless, in this context, we find Jesus comforting Martha, who has just lost her brother Lazarus to the grave. Martha has confirmed to her Lord that she knows He can ask anything of God the Father and it will be done. She also acknowledges that Lazarus will rise “at the resurrection on the last day.” (John 11:24) Jesus tells her that she need not wait. Lazarus will rise from the dead now. Jesus confirms His power over death; that the grave is incapable of holding those who belong to Christ.

 

Mary, the sister of Martha, also acknowledges that if Jesus had been present, Lazarus would never have died.

Seeing Mary’s sadness, Jesus weeps for her, for Martha, for Lazarus and I do believe for Himself — for He has lost a good friend and brother.

 

Jesus commands that the stone be removed; then He prays. “Did I not tell you that if you have faith you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40) He commands Lazarus to “Come forth.” (John 11:43) Lazarus obeys, walking out of his grave.

 

Jesus commands, “Loose him; let him go.” (John 11:44) Death releases its captive.

“In Accord With God’s Will” (1 John 5: 14, NEB) by Carley Evans


“We can approach God with confidence for this reason: if we make requests which accord with His will He listens to us; and if we know that our requests are heard, we know also that the things we ask for are ours.”

Lazarus falls ill.

Martha sends a message to Jesus, telling Him that His friend, Lazarus is sick. Jesus knows that “this illness will not end in death; [but] has come for the glory of God.” (John 10: 4) Therefore, He deliberately waits two days.

Lazarus dies.

Mary stays at home. Martha seeks Jesus, saying: “If You had been here, sir, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will grant You.”

Jesus promises Lazarus will rise again.

Martha tells Mary that Jesus is looking for her.

Mary – who Jesus forgives much, so that she loves much — comes to the place where Jesus is. When she sees Him, she falls at His feet and testifies: “O sir, if you had only been here my brother would not have died.” Mary and her companions are weeping.

Jesus weeps.

Jesus says, “Do I not tell you that if you have faith you see the glory of God?” (John 11: 41)

The stone is rolled away, and Jesus raises His dead friend with a “great cry: ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ ”

The confidence Mary and Martha show in Jesus’ ability and willingness to save Lazarus from death is valid. They are correct — if Jesus comes while Lazarus is ill, then Lazarus does not die. But Jesus waits, confident Himself that Lazarus’ death and subsequent resurrection is “for [the] good [of Mary and Martha and others] and for the good of [their] faith.” (John 11: 15)

Jesus knows they are to “see the glory of God” which is indeed “in accord with God’s will.”

“The Good Portion” (1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 3, ESV) by Carley Evans


“If I have not love, I gain nothing.”

Paul is very clear in his letter to the Corinthian church. You may be able to speak in tongues with interpretation for the edification of others; you may be able to give all your possessions; you may be willing to sacrifice your body for the glory of the Lord — but, if you have no love in your heart, then you gain nothing.

Martha invites Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, sits at Jesus’ feet “and listens to His teaching.” (Luke 10: 39) Martha is busy with serving, distracted. She is also resentful that Mary is sitting while she is working. She asks the Lord to intervene, but He says, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 41 – 42)

The good portion is Christ Himself — not what we do for Him; but what He does for us.

The one who loves most is the one who is forgiven the most. Jesus says that those of us who are keenly aware of our need of His forgiveness are those who are the most grateful. David is a man after God’s own heart. Why? Because David is acutely aware of his need of God’s grace. As we are aware of how much God loves us, though we are undeserving, we are able to love others, though they may be undeserving.

We are to forgive as we are forgiven.

Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus responds, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18: 21, 22)

Love keeps no record of wrongdoing. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13: 7 – 8)

“Passed Out Of Death” (John 11: 25, ESV) by Carley Evans


“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.” (1 John 3: 14)

Lazarus is dead; he lies in his grave, his body spiced and wrapped. He has been in the grave four days when Jesus arrives in Bethany. Martha meets Jesus as He approaches, saying to Him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” (John 11: 21) Jesus tells Martha that Lazarus will rise again. Martha figures Jesus is referring to the future resurrection to occur on the last day. But Jesus says, “I Am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live.”

The life Jesus gives is for the present time.

Jesus finds Mary weeping, and He is “deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled.” (John 11: 33) He weeps with Mary. At Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus commands the stone to be moved from the cave where Lazarus’ body is entombed. Martha is concerned about decay and odor for her brother has been dead four days. Jesus is focused on His heavenly Father’s glory. He calls Lazarus to come out. Lazarus does. Jesus says to Mary, Martha and others, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11: 44)

Jesus unbinds us from the grip of death; He loosens the ties and lets us go. “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15: 55)

Jesus loves us. He tells us, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15: 13) He says, “I came that [My friends] may have life and have it abundantly. I Am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10: 10 – 11)