Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

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Written by Peter Langbroek
Outside of Bethany, approaching the town of His friends, Mary and Martha, Jesus became angry inside. The loud wails of the mourners and the weeping of Mary stirred Him up. He had heard Mary's question, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died (John 11:32)." His friend, Lazarus, whom He love, had died.

What a curse! What a sorrow! Life--a vale of tears! Jesus was moved with anger at the thought of death. "Where have you laid him?" He asked.

"Come and see," they said.

Death is as real as life. Jesus burst into tears.

The people saw Him weep. Some marveled at His love for Lazarus. Other scorned that He had not healed him. Approaching the grave of His friend, Jesus groaned within. There was the stone behind the cave where Lazarus lay.

"Take away the stone,Ó He ordered.

"But," objected Martha who was with Him, "he's been in the grave for four days. By this time he's stinking!"

Jesus answered," Didn't I tell you that if you would believe you'd see the glory of God?"

Then, in front of the grave, among the people, Jesus prayed to His 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 has sent Me ( John 11: 41,42)."

The stone was laid away. "Lazarus, come out!" Jesus shouted. To everyone's amazement, Lazarus, still wrapped in grave clothes, walked out of the sepulchre.

What a remarkable story this is! Jesus is angry at the curse of death, weeps and is deeply moved by the sorrow of the people, weeping with them over the death of a friend whom He loved. The Bible calls Jesus a "man of sorrows, acquainted with griefÓ( Isaiah 53:3). Not only man, but God wept. When we weep over death, what a comfort it is to know that He knows our sorrows. I think some of you have already learned this sorrow when a loved one has died; even so, this experience will come, sooner or later.

How remarkable, too, is the fact, that Jesus had this miracle prearranged. He knew, when He was travelling to Bethany, that Lazarus was sick. Mary and Martha had sent a messenger to tell Him. But He stayed in the area for two more days, so He'd arrive four days after Lazarus died. He had told His disciples that He was going to Judea to "awake him out of sleep" (John 11: 11). He raised Lazarus so the people would see the glory of God and believe in Him.

He told Martha, who met Him outside Bethany, that Lazarus would rise again. When she said that Lazarus would rise again on the last day, He declared, "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, though he were dead, yet shall he liveÓ (John 11: 25).

You see, Jesus raised Lazarus to show that only He could conquer death, even after four days. He knew that to conquer death, He had to die and His body lie in a sepulchre like Lazarus'. His Father would raise Him up on the third day. While Jesus stayed in Bethany, the Pharisees and Sadducees plotted to kill Him. The roads were filled with people going to Jerusalem for the Passover. On that festival He would die as the One who sacrificed Himself for the sins of His people so they may not experience the death of being separated from God forever.

Do you believe this? (cf. John 11: 25-27) Remember Martha's answer, "Yea, Lord: I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."

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