Thursday, April 7, 2011

John 11:1-57

The Dead Receive Life

Jesus was ministering in a city when messengers arrived explaining that one of his close friends living in a distant city was very ill. Interestingly, Jesus continued ministering in the locality where he was because he was certain that he could deal with his friend’s sickness, and he knew the sickness would ultimately bring glory to God. When Jesus finally decided to travel to his friend’s city, one of his disciples reminded him that there were people in that locality who desired to kill him. Jesus responded to his disciple by saying that when a person walks in the light he/she will not stumble. In other words, Jesus was returning to his friend's side with full knowledge that he had a commission to complete on earth before his life would be destroyed. Therefore, God would not allow anything to happen to him until his earthly mission was completed. This is true for Jesus and it was also true for his friend, Lazarus, who was on the verge of death awaiting the arrival of the anointed one.
When Jesus finally arrived in the town where his comrade resided, Lazarus had already passed away. In fact, he had been buried in a tomb for four days, and the grieving process for the beloved friend and companion was nearing a time of completion. Lazarus’ two sisters met with Jesus and lamented the untimely loss of their brother. Jesus explained that he would restore Lazarus’ life, but this miracle was inconceivable to the sisters, and so they began rationalizing that Jesus was referring to the final resurrection at the end of the age. Surprisingly, as Jesus stood among Lazarus’ grieving friends and family, he was moved to tears because of the agony of death that overwhelmed them so punitively. Conceivably, Jesus was contemplating the fact that he would soon pay the penalty required to set humanity free from all of the consequences of sin.
Finally, Jesus asked the family and friends to direct them to the location of Lazarus’ tomb. After arriving there, Jesus instructed some of the mourners to roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb, and then he loudly commanded Lazarus to come out of the burial place. Suddenly, Lazarus came out of the darkened tomb wearing the bindings of grave clothes on his hands and feet. Jesus directed those nearby to remove the grave clothes so he could walk about freely as a man resurrected to life.
One of the primary duties of Christ is to set humanity free from the bondage of death. Notice that even though Lazarus had been released from death and the tomb, he was still bound with deaths entrapments. Jesus asked those around him to remove the garments of death so that he could fully enjoy the life Christ had given him rather than being a person who exhibited the restrictions of death even though he was alive. Often times, those of us who have experienced life in Christ continue to accept the negative garments of sinful attitudes, controlling habits, and improper relationships. Christ has visited our "tombs of life" and has set us free from the consequences of death. Therefore it is imperative, as people who have been set free from the bondage of sin, for us to enjoy every day to the fullest extent.

- Terry Minter