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Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead (John 11)

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Lazarus wrapped in white garment

By Dr Edward Tamale-Sali

Jesus had been called for a medical emergency for His great family friend, Lazarus. Lazarus had suddenly fallen sick and when his sister saw his condition was getting worse, they looked for Jesus immediately. Unfortunately, Jesus was far out preaching in another town – Jerusalem – almost 20 miles away from Bethany the town of Lazarus.

Jesus received the news probably on the same day or in hours. The sisters, Martha and Mary, must have sent a marathon person to run very quickly or sent a man on a horse or donkey.

If it was like our days, a telephone call or a WhatsApp message with the photo of Lazarus lying in his sick bed would have made Jesus to understand his friend’s serious condition.However, Jesus got the message very clearly and knew the severity of the case.

Medical emergency

As a medical doctor when one is called to attend to an emergency, one runs to attend
to the patient. I have seen doctors being sued or terminated because of delaying to attend to a medical emergency.

Jesus’ response to the call

This is what Jesus said when He got the news from the messenger. “Please tell those sisters of Lazarus. This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God that the son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 11:4).

Jesus delays

Lazarus died and was buried. It was really a very sad story and a great discouragement for this family. Here you are with this man Jesus whom they had seen performing great miracles to other people and yet He could not attend to His own great friend.

I can imagine this is what went through their minds. Jesus arrived to the graveyard after four days of Lazarus’ burial. If Jesus had resurrected Lazarus within one to three days, most people then and now would doubt this
miracle. Many would think Lazarus was in a coma. Others would cast a doubt about this miracle. We thank God that Jesus made a point by deliberately delaying to ensure the man had been buried and had started rotting. Who could do this? Because of this miracle, we can glorify God through His son Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Thanks be to God that about 2000 years ago Jesus came and has given the same power to His believers. Jesus’ believers have potentially the same power that He has because He has passed it to them (Mathew 28, Mark 16). Jesus confirmed to His disciples in John 11:14 that indeed Lazarus was dead.

He told them that He was going to wake him up out of sleep. Jesus comforted Martha by saying that her brother was going to live gain. Jesus made the greatest statement ever recorded in the history of mankind concerning death: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet he shall he live” (John 11:25).

Message

To me this is the message why Jesus came. He came to destroy death – the greatest enemy of man. Recently I attended the burial of a close family friend who had suddenly passed away. He had just passed away by the time I arrived. In my thoughts I said, like Martha, I wish Jesus was present He could raise him from this condition.

The good news

Jesus is the resurrection and the life. There has never been any person who showed power over death than Jesus. Jesus himself rose from the dead because death could not hold Him being the author of life Himself.

Challenges

My dear friend who is reading this article and you are not yet born-again, today is your day. Accept Jesus, the author of life and resurrection. There is no other way. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 9:27: “It is appointed for man to die once after which is the judgment of God.”

Those who love Jesus and you are born again, rejoice ever more. Jesus has won the battle of death over you and me. Hallelujah. Wishing you a happy New Year 2020.

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