Lazarus Was Dead

John 11: 1-44

My best friend has been blessed with a beautiful talent. She ministers in song. I have listened to her sing countless times throughout the years. I tell her often that I’m her biggest fan, and I believe that I am. Last night I listened to her sing 4 Days Late. It wasn’t the first time I had heard her sing this song. I have even sang it before. But God snapped His fingers at me during the first few lines.. “The deathwatch was over, buried 4 days.”

“4 Days Late” tells the story of Lazarus, a friend of Jesus. He and his sisters, Mary and Martha, had opened their home to Jesus before. They were friends, they loved each other. So, naturally, when Lazarus became ill and they sent word to Jesus about his condition, certainly things would be ok. Mary and Martha believed in Jesus, they knew He was able to heal him. They had probably even seen Him heal countless individuals before. But when they called for their brother, Jesus didn’t come.

When their need was at its greatest, He didn’t answer. Lazarus was certainly dead. In his time there was more than one circumstance where individuals had been pronounced dead to only find out that later life actually remained. So it was custom that for 24hrs after the body was pronounced dead there would be a deathwatch to watch for signs of life. I wonder if Mary and Martha had held out hope that maybe, just maybe, Lazarus could still be alive. Somehow they had been mistaken and Jesus would come and everything would be fine. But now, the deathwatch was over. Hope was gone. Lazarus was dead.

Have you ever felt you’re in a hopeless situation? Have you ever held onto something believing that God was going to step in at any moment, and He didn’t? Have you watched things go from bad to worse, to only keep getting worse? 4 days after Lazarus died Jesus showed up. The deathwatch was over, his body had been dressed, the family had gone through tradition, Lazarus’ tomb had been sealed. And now Jesus shows up. I would have been like Mary.. ‘Jesus, he’s dead, been dead 4 days. If you would have been here it would have been different. But you weren’t, and he’s dead.’

Of course we all know the ending. Jesus cries Lazarus come forth and He raises him from the dead. My concentration is on how utterly hopeless this situation was. Lazarus’ family and friends had literally sat and watched Lazarus after his death, and had searched for life. They had watched for any hope. They watched his chest to see if there was even the slightest possibility that breath was entering his body. They listened for any noise, any hope at all that life remained in his body. But there was no hope, no life. Lazarus’ body was prepared for burial. He was bound in rags with ointment. He was placed in a tomb, and a huge stone was placed at its entrance. Hope was gone. Nothing was left.

Maybe this is where some of you are at in your own life. You’ve believed for so long that things would be ok. You’ve held onto hope where there was no cause to believe that God was working in your favor. Maybe you’ve looked for life in your marriage, your job, or your finances..but all proof of reality points to death. That there’s no hope. That life doesn’t remain. “Oh, but my God is great and when He’s 4 days late, He’s still on time.”

Jesus could still speak to that hopeless situation cause death to let go so that life can appear again. Jesus can cause the rags that bind you to be loosed by the hands that bound you in the first place. Jesus may be on His way, right now, to speak life into your situation. You hold on. Even when we see no possible solution to our problems…even when we see no change in the distance future…Jesus can still step in and speak life to the circumstances that have caused you to believe that all hope is gone. Lazarus was dead…but then Jesus showed up.

Author: Britney Wilkes

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Published in: on August 28, 2012 at 6:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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