by PamFord Davis
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We all know the stories of Jesus intimate relationship with a Bethany family, two sisters, Mary and Martha, and their brother, Lazarus. They have been read and studied, then neatly tucked away for future reference. Are you ready for a time machine journey back to Bethany? The Bible is your gateway. All aboard!
This family was much like any on Main Street, America. They had their daily routine and responsibilities to fulfill. They were performed, and then repeated day after day... If not for being Jesus friends, we would not have known them. Don't you see, that changes everything?! When Jesus touched their lives, they became very special. Sure, they still had a routine to follow; but now they were personal friends of Jesus, Their Messiah!
As you read through all references of this family, recorded for us in scripture, look for their emotions. I think we can agree that they were on an emotional roller coaster ride! I'll briefly point out a few: Martha's' irritation, when Mary would not help with meal preparations/ Mary's ecstasy while resting at the feet of Jesus, feeling for her first time really alive! OK, those were times for festive entertaining; but later they faced trials.
There were feelings of concern and desperation, when Lazarus became seriously ill. After sending for Jesus, and waiting for his arrival, He has not come. Why, Lord? Why haven't You come to touch Lazarus? Why haven't You come to give us strength and comfort? Why must we face this crisis without You? Why must we endure the taunts of those asking where You are, when we need You?
Jesus arrives. Jesus does come. Lazarus has already died, was buried, and has been in tombed for four days. Now, there are only two friends in the house at Bethany, to greet Jesus on His arrival. There will be one less plate at the meal gathering. The sisters grieve and then they grieve again...Their why questions haunt them, and later spill out, when they see Jesus face to face.
Mixed in with their emotional roller coaster ride, there remained a measure of faith. They still did not know the answers to their many questions. They did know One, who held all the answers. Jesus wept, not so much for his cherished friend Lazarus, as for the dear sisters. Death is the enemy He had come from Glory to defeat! Death separates unbelievers from God, because they reject the gift of His Son. When believers die, their loved ones are separated from them. Yes, He wept in the cruelty experienced in death.
Jesus shared the foundations of their faith in Him, that He Is The Resurrection And the Life. He asked if they believed that. (John 11: 25-26) Their faith began to gradually glow once more. Jesus then places in front of them another deep plunge on the emotional roller coaster! He tells them to remove the stone from the mouth of Lazarus grave. Martha was in absolute shock, at such a command! She knew that behind that stone was Lazarus with the stench of death! After four days even the costly spices they had anointed his body with, would be useless! This time He was asking too much! This made absolutely no sense!
Jesus instructions were followed. At His spoken word life returned to the body of Lazarus! Just as Christ had been in action at the creation of Lazarus world, speaking it into existence,(Colossians 1:16) He now spoke a second chance at life for Lazarus! Lazarus was still bound in his grave cloths, likely tripping over them as he walked from the empty tomb. He still bore the putrid smell of corruption and death! Jesus said, unbind him!
In our lives many of us have things buried from our past, sealed as placed behind a rock entrance to our hearts. We know the need to deal with the corruption there. Yet,others say let the past be past...We as Christians believe with assurance, that we are cleansed of all sin by Jesus blood. (I John 1:9) Do we then refuse to completely unwrap ourselves from our rags, to unbind our deepest wounds? Jesus wants us to remove all rags, and cast them away! It was Jesus command! Even our own righteousness is as filthy rags! (Isaiah 64:6) Jesus wants us clothed in clean white linen, adorned to meet with Him at The Marriage Of The Lamb!(Revelation 19:7-9) Throw away your Lazarus rags; slip into glad rags today!
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