resurrection

I had big plans for something I wanted to share this morning.  I’m sure it’s the same plan I had the other day when I would up writing my “trust” post.   I still have that plan, but it will have to wait for another day.

raising-of-lazarus-guercino-1619

Part of my morning prayer liturgy now includes reading the weekly scripture from the revised common lectionary. This means that this is the scripture that is read in millions of churches around the world that particular Sunday. So, this past Sunday, that scripture is John chapter 11, best known to us for the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
After reading this for the past five mornings, of course now I just have to share something from it. I’m going to keep this short and sweet (or maybe not), but I could look at this for a whole week I think. This is the first week I’ve incorporated this lectionary scripture reading into my prayer time, and what a chapter to read day after day.

Mary and Martha
So here’s a question – have you ever felt like Jesus let you down? Have you ever cried out to Jesus in a struggle, in a time of trial, and not gotten the response you wanted?? Have you been praying to Jesus about something and feel like he has not shown up? Both Martha and Mary, both very dear, personal friends of Jesus along with their brother Lazarus, felt this way after their brothers death. They had sent for Jesus, and he just didn’t show up like they thought he should have. We see this in both when they greet him after he finally shows up – Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:21. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32. It’s almost like they blame Jesus for their brother dying. We see this with some of the mourners who are there comforting Mary and Martha when they see Jesus weep for Lazarus – “So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”” John‬ ‭11:36-37‬ ‭ESV

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Jesus had not showed up. He had let everyone here down, especially Lazarus the dead man.

Jesus-Wept-900
But he did show up. Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” He did show up, but it was four days too late. Lazarus is dead, been dead four days, so long he probably stinks by now. “Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”” It was too late for Lazarus, but it wasn’t too late. Because this is the point of the last miracle, or as John calls them “signs”, of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John – wherever Jesus is present, it is NEVER TOO LATE.

Unbind him
He may not show up right where and when we want him too, or when we think he should. But he always shows up. And when he shows up, it’s just never too late.

never too late
Are you struggling with some sin or addiction and the shame of it all makes you feel like you’re a hopeless case? Have you relapsed so many times and collected so many blue chips you have to take them back just to make room in your sock drawer? Is your marriage on the rocks and both of you have just hardened your hearts to the point where it’s clear to all that it’s just over? It’s never too late.

It's never too late
Do you feel all alone, without joy, and feel like Jesus will never show up for you? Do you feel like you would just as soon not even try to deal with the mess you’ve made in your life? Have all your hopes and dreams been dashed because of poor choices by yourself, or maybe even worse, because of something someone else did? It’s never too late.
Are you just a hopeless “lost cause”? Is this just how it’s going to be for you? Have you done so much “bad” in your life that you just feel there’s no way anyone can help you. Are there so many dead bodies buried in your closet that you could never talk about them, you can never pull them into the light of day, because it would be the death of all your relationships and reputation?
Aren’t you still breathing? Have you been dead four days, in the tomb, stinking of rotting flesh? What Jesus did for Lazarus was not resuscitation, it was resurrection. He didn’t perform CPR at the brink. Lazarus was not just sick, he was dead. And we know that dead men don’t rise. Except Lazarus did. Except Jesus did. Except that even if you feel dead in your sins, hopeless in your life, even if you’re beyond resuscitation, there’s still hope.

Jesus-Resurrection-Pictures-13
Because when it’s too late for resuscitation, Jesus specializes in Resurrection. It’s never, ever too late.

 

“Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.””

‭‭John‬ ‭11:21, 32, 38-44‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/jhn.11.21,32,38-44.esv

John Lewis

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6 thoughts on “Resurrection

  1. Another excellent post. And to one of your questions about the dead. Many are in this situation for they are walking ‘dead’ people who walk around in a shell imprisoned for a myriad of reasons. And so true. You are right, Jesus is THERE and I think in many cases he is always there, only we are too blind to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post John! I was just thinking about the disciples on the Road to Emmaus who had teh same disappointment as Mary adn Martha – Jesus let us down they thought. We are alwas wrong whne we think that but we keep on doing it.

    Liked by 2 people

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