259 - Lazarus Is Alive
SEPTEMBER 16- Nº 259 John 11:18-54
When Martha heard that Jesus was on his way to Bethany, she went to meet him. “Lord,” she cried, “My brother would still be alive if you had been here. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask for.” Lovingly Jesus responded, “Martha, your brother will rise again.” “I know that he will be part of the resurrection on the last day,” Martha answered. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me, even if he dies physically, will have eternal life. Do you believe this?” “Yes Lord. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God,” Martha replied. Martha rushed back to the house and told Mary that Jesus wanted to see her, too. Mary got up and ran to Jesus. When she reached him, she fell at his feet. “Lord, my brother would still be alive if you had been here,” she cried—echoing Martha’s words. Several friends had followed Mary from the house. When Jesus saw them all weeping, he was deeply moved. “Where did you lay him?” he asked. “Come and see,” they replied. At that point Jesus wept too. His heart was breaking—not just for the people mourning the loss of their loved one, but for his friend Lazarus, who would soon be ripped from the majesty of heaven and sent back to a messy world. They led Jesus to the tomb—a cave with a stone across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” Jesus commanded. But Martha wasn’t happy. “Lord, he has been dead four days and by now he will stink,” she complained. “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Jesus reminded her. When the stone was removed, Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you always hear me, but I’m saying this so the people here will believe that You sent me.” Then in a loud voice he commanded, “Lazarus, come out!” Sure enough, still bound with linen cloths from head to foot, Lazarus came out of the tomb. “Unwrap him and let him go,” Jesus said. That day many of the Jews believed that Jesus was the Messiah. But others went straight to the Pharisees and reported what Jesus had just done. The Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin—Israel’s ruling council (see #208 - July 27). They were already convinced that Jesus was not their Messiah. He violated too many of their religious traditions. They decided it was time to put him to death before anyone else believed. It was no coincidence that just a few days before, Jesus had told the Pharisees a parable about a rich man (who represented the religious leaders) and a poor man he called Lazarus (see #257 - September 14). Yes, Lazarus! The Lazarus in the parable died and went to heaven where he was laid next to Abraham. The rich man also died, but he went to hell. Hell was so horrible that the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers so they could repent. Abraham responded, “They will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” And that is exactly what happened in Bethany! Jesus had just raised someone from the dead—yet the Pharisees still refused to believe that he was the Messiah!
Some people we know have already made up their minds—they refuse to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for their sins. Their hearts are hard—just like the Pharisees’ were.
But that doesn’t mean we should stop praying for them. Even some of the Pharisees later believed that Jesus was their Messiah (like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus—John 19:38-39).