Saturday, April 4, 2009
What To Do in a Cold, Stiff, Stinky Situation
We enter this text at verse 28 after a terrible thing has happened. Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha, and dear friend of Jesus has died. Martha, in her grief, tells Jesus, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”, and she has a point. Imagine the pain she and her sister suffer with. Mary and Martha are not skeptics. Much like us, they know Jesus and know who to call when trouble comes. But four days have already passed since Lazarus’ death. As a matter of fact, Jesus waited two whole days after hearing of Lazarus’ sickness to go see his dear friend. How, at such a time as this, could Jesus not come?
But Jesus grieved. Verse 33 tells us that Jesus, “groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” Many light-heartedly reference this scripture as the shortest verse in the Bible, but indeed it was Lazarus, for whom “Jesus wept.”
So by the time Jesus comes asks for the stone where Lazarus had been laid to be rolled away, Martha reminds Jesus that after all this time, Lazarus surely “stinketh.” In response, Jesus does two very important things in verses 41-43. First, Jesus thanked the Father for hearing him. Second, he spoke the will of God, to which he had been in tune. When Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth” what do you think Lazarus did? Lazarus, bound by hand and foot, came forth!
I want you to know that if Jesus had come when Mary and Martha had first called for him, the rows of skeptics and unbelievers would have said, “Oh! Lazarus wasn’t really sick.” If he had come immediately after Lazarus’ death, they would have said, “Oh, Lazarus wasn’t dead. He must have been in a coma.” So Jesus waited until Lazarus must have been cold and stiff, bound and wrapped in “graveclothes” to show up and restore Lazarus’ life. Had Jesus come any earlier, the skeptics would have had “reasonable doubt” and God would not have gotten His glory.
If ever you find yourself in a situation that is “cold and stiff”, in a situation that “stinketh” and it appears that the time for restoration has long passed, remember this passage and do as Jesus did. Give thanks to the Father, and speak God’s will.
How can you know God’s will? Fast and pray, just as we are doing now. Believe that Jesus will show up, and get the glory.
We are His people, and now is our time.