Saturday, February 8, 2014

February 8: Power over death

Jesus, intensely moved again, came to the tomb. (Now it was a cave, and a stone was placed across it.) Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, replied, “Lord, by this time the body will have a bad smell, because he has been buried four days.” Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you that you have listened to me. I knew that you always listen to me, but I said this for the sake of the crowd standing around here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he shouted in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The one who had died came out, his feet and hands tied up with strips of cloth, and a cloth wrapped around his face. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and let him go.”  (John 11:38-44 — NET)

This is perhaps the greatest miracle Jesus performed other than His own resurrection. Lazarus had been buried four days and his body had begun to decompose. But that didn't matter to Jesus. When He cried out, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came back to life. After all, Jesus' voice is the voice of the Creator—the voice that will someday call all the dead from their graves. Raising the physically dead was a miracle performed in the early church—and it should be a miracle performed today by His followers.

But even more important is the miracle that should be happening every day through whenever the Good News about Jesus is preached. People with no hope of a future are finding acceptance and help in God and His church. Those who are dead in sin, slaves to demons and Satan, and on the highway to hell, are being delivered, forgiven, and saved. People who have been considered "the scum of the earth," are becoming sons and daughters of God—citizens in His Kingdom. Jesus is the Life-Giver. He has conquered death and wants you to share in His victory with Him. He wants to speak the same words to each of us: "Take off the grave clothes and let them go!"

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