Our Blessed Hope, Our Great Challenge
~Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go~
The Gospel of John – Chapter 11: 41- 44
We find in these verses and in this chapter, as Christians, our great Hope and Belief – Jesus Christ of Nazareth – the One Who says: ~ I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live~ And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die~.
Oh, the resurrection of Christ and our subsequent resurrection, which is assured the believer in Christ, is our great hope! It is what we eagerly wait for as we journey through our earthly life, often encountering pain and sorrow.
However, we also find one of our greatest challenges as believers. For as one meditates on the above verses we see, also, God’s desire for us to be ~workers together with Him~. For, Jesus called forth Lazareth from the dead to literally resurrect him! But we notice, also, that Lazareth came forth from the dead ~bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin~. Why did Jesus not command the graveclothes to be removed? He could have and they would have been removed, for if He raises the dead to new life, surely He easily could have removed the graveclothes.
The reason, I believe, is because He left that part of His work for us to participate in. He desires that we be involved, personally in others’ lives, and that we help to loose people that are bound in sin, despair, hopelessness and fear. That is the hard part of working with Jesus. For, it takes time, patience and His love working through us to help deliver the desperate from their plight.
Yet, it is what we are called to do, a very difficult and time-consuming ministry, indeed. But it does not stop there. For the one that answers the call, helping set people free, there are glorious promises which I will end with as depicted in Isaiah 58: 6-12.
~Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rearward.
Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not~
I wish to dedicate this devotional to my dear Sister, Petra! Petra, you will never know how you thrilled my heart when you shared you are involved tending the sheep and in a deliverance ministy. Having been saved, but also unbound from past sins, I recognize your most Sacred work. May you continue on for, oh, how great your reward will be in Heaven, as you probably know. The Isaiah promises are yours, my dear sister. May the LORD use them to enncourage you in the midst of a difficult but extremely rewarding ministry! I love you, dear, Petra!
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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