“Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.” John 12:10-11
John 12 is filled with powerfully memorable stories of faith, hope, and love. One story is the testimony of a dead man. Sure, we’ve heard the story of how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but do we ever stop to consider that every time Lazarus was seen alive he was testifying of God’s miraculous power thus drawing others to Jesus Christ? I did not consider that detail until now. What this truth does is, it sheds light on why the enemy wants us to sink in the quicksands of depression, or get lost in the wilderness of worry. Satan wants us to play dead. Our walking, moving, praising, singing, dancing, thriving in the name Jesus bears witness to what God can do. God makes dead sinners walk in the freedom of forgiveness, those of us with stiff budgets have become cheerful givers, hard bitter hearts grow to melt before the Lord, which is why we must not only come to Christ and be saved we must remain resurrected from those deceased aspects of our lives. Indeed, every part of us that Christ’ light is not shone on is dead. What if Lazarus refused to come out? You know, when Jesus called His name, what if he preferred his tomb?
Even if our situation appears to be hopeless in the natural we are responsible for responding to the voice of the Lord, although our surroundings may tell us to “die, and stay dead,” the Lord says, “Lazarus, come out!” John 11:43b. Our bank account may cause us to remain in bed, our resume may say don’t apply for that job, our past hurts from relationships may tempt us not to love again, will we obey the voice of the Lord or the voice of the grave? Some may wonder why Lazarus was allowed to die in the first place. Well, the exact answer only the Lord knows, but I know the benefits of the Lord allowing Lazarus to spend those nights in the tomb. Souls. Souls were connected to the testimony that was created when Jesus called Lazarus out of that rotten grave. That’s why that relationship did not work, certain aspects of our finances look bleak, the grave is just as much a part of the blessings as the tangible thing that we are requesting. The grave is the stage, or platform if you will, for the Lord to do what only He can do. There are people that will hear what God did to you and through you and come running to Jesus. But we must go into that reeking, dark place for a little while. That dense darkness surrounding our situation is the backdrop for God’s next miracle.
“Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?”” John 11:38-40
How should we respond to the graves in our life so that our witness can continually draw others to Christ? Embrace the dim, unsympathetic, foul-smelling grave, and listen for the Lord to call you out. How do we embrace the grave? Prayerfully examine if God temporarily has you in this dead place for His glory or if you are holding yourself hostage by your unwillingness to move. Either way, you should move but the timing will be different. If you are holding you, hostage, you can move and see change because God is not holding you in the grave, you are. On the other hand, if God has you tomb bound for the appointed time, Jesus will not come and get you out until the time is right. Although God allowed Lazarus to die, He did not walk him out of the grave, Lazarus had to take those steps himself, with the Lords direction. What do we do while we are in the grave? Our figurative graves present us with the opportunity to work whilst we wait.
“Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “Please, LORD, save me!” How kind the LORD is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.” Psalm 116:3-6
I use the gifts, talents, and abilities the Lord has blessed me with to be a blessing to others, I sow seeds into ministries, I increase my capacity to receive from God by coming to accept His love for me on a deeper level. I absolutely, do not let the grass grow under my feet. Maybe when we come out of our graves we will not smell as bad because we would have been moving and working throughout our grave period. Whatever you do, do not give the grave more credit than it is due. Please do not attribute power to circumstances. God has the power. He uses the tombs to demonstrate His power but what happens is we sometimes lose sight of God and get lost in a temporal grave. Our grave is not an eternal resting place for us. It is what God sometimes uses to bless you overwhelmingly, and win souls. Some people may not have come to Christ until they saw and smelled Lazarus as he walked the earth directly from a tomb. There are some stubborn souls that may not believe that God can heal a broken heart, restore finances, forgive, comfort, protect, deliver, and save until they hear the mighty acts that He has done in your life. Stop playing dead, and come out of that grave when God says that it is time with a new story to tell.
I am gracious for the tombstone
I’m in a grave, but there’s flesh on my bones
I’m not meant to die here but resurrect
They call me dead, You say “resting”- I am God’s elect
I’ll see Your glory, I will not stop believing
I may be in a grave but it’s a bit misleading
Because more life is in me than ever before
Proclaiming the Good News as I exit death’s door
You don’t believe? Just look at me
Just days ago, I was as dead as can be
Now I stand before you victoriously
Glorifying God into eternity
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