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November 29, 2020 | Ed Taylor
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“Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, ‘Lord by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’ Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’ Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them. ‘Loose him, and let him go.’”—John 11:38-44 (NKJV)
I heard a pastor once say, “God hates death more than we do!” God never intended for mankind to experience death. He created man in a perfect environment, and He wanted man to live forever.
Presiding at graveside services, I will often say, “As you look out and see all the headstones in this cemetery, remember this: Death was not God’s plan.” Death came by man, not by God (I Corinthians 15:21).
When God created man, everything was beautiful, perfect, and complete. He purposed the ultimate best for mankind. He gave man responsibilities and commandments to protect them so they would glory in a right relationship with Him, others, and creation. All was in perfect harmony.
However, after the heartbreak and devastation of the fall, God mercifully prepared a divine plan to deliver man and reverse the ravages of sin and death. God would send His Son, Jesus, to become the sacrificial Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world . . . our sins.
When Jesus came to the tomb, He was groaning in Himself. Why? He hated death and the pain and sorrow it created for everyone. Jesus hated the effects of the fall. The perfect plan for man was temporarily interrupted. He hurts when we hurt, and He weeps when we weep. As the suffering Servant, He tasted everything we experience in our earthly lives.
The encounter with Lazarus and raising him from the dead is personal for us. Warren Wiesbe says, “The experience of Lazarus is a good illustration of what happens to a sinner when he trusts the Savior. Lazarus was dead, and all sinners are dead. He was decaying. All people are spiritually dead, some are more decayed than others. Lazarus was raised from the dead by the power of God, and all who trust Christ have been given new life and lifted out of the graveyard of sin. Lazarus was set free from the grave clothes and given new life.”
We have been created and called to live victoriously. Sin and death have no power over us, because of what Jesus did. You have been loosed from death like Lazarus. Take off the grave clothes.
This promise holds true: “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:26 NKJV). “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4 ESV).
DIG: Recall the time when the Lord captured your heart and delivered you from sin and death. Take a moment to thank Him for His death so you may have eternal life in Him.
DISCOVER: The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and saved you is the same power He gives you to live your life victoriously in Him daily.
DO: Read Romans 8:37-39. Live confidently for you have been raised with Christ. You are no longer under the penalty of spiritual death.