Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)
By C D Swanson
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So it was only natural when Lazarus fell ill, that a message be sent to Jesus.
"Lord, the one you love is sick," the message was abundantly clear. Jesus did not respond readily. In fact, He decided to stay put before going to Lazarus' hometown of Bethany. Jesus knew He would perform a great miracle in God's glory, so that the Son of God might be glorified. So, henceforth, He was not in a hurry. In fact Jesus waited days before His journey to Bethany.
Meanwhile, in Bethany...Lazarus died. He was in the tomb for four days when Jesus arrived. Mourners were standing by, wailing and crying...Mary and Martha were crushed by their brother's death. Martha was on her knees travailing openly-sobbing while clutching her chest, when she noticed Jesus. She stood up quickly and cried.
"Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
Jesus told Martha, "Your brother will rise again." Martha believed He was speaking about the final resurrection of the dead. She nodded and wiped her tears away.
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." Jesus looked at each person in the crowd of mourners, watching their faces closely.
Jesus had not entered the village yet-and so Martha went and told Mary that Jesus wanted to see her. Jesus wanted to avoid stirring up the crowd. Bethany was not far from Jerusalem where Jewish leaders were plotting against Jesus.
When Mary saw Jesus she was grieving with pained emotion, and the Jews with her were wailing too. Jesus was deeply moved by their pain, and He wept.
Jesus walked to the tomb of Lazarus and asked the crowd gathered to remove the stone that covered the hillside burial place. Jesus heard the crowd muttering, "What is He going to do? He is dead for four days-surely it is too late."
Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed to His Father, and closing with these powerful words: "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. And I know that you hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent me." And when he spoke, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth."
Mary, Martha, and the crowd of mourners waited in silence, and suddenly- Lazarus came out after Jesus' command!
"Loose him, and let him go," Jesus ordered.
Mary and Martha stared in wide eyed amazement at the miracle they witnessed! The two sisters immediately genuflected, giving thanks, and praise, to the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and King.
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