For the Benefit of…

So they took away the stone.  Then Jesus looked up and said,  “Father, I thank You that You always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent me.”

When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice,  “Lazarus, come out!”  The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them,  “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”  John 11:41-44.

The one thing I hate about dead bodies—besides the death part—is the smell.  After four days of decomposing, Lazarus must have really reeked, which begs the question:  Why did Jesus wait so long?  Precisely for the moment of bad oder for nothing else could convince those witnessing what He was about to do the man was really dead as effortlessly as that smell.

This reminds me so much of the fact that we sometimes stink to high heave as well.  Our lives get the smell of death or something on them, or our circumstances stink, and we just wonder how long the Lord will wait before He comes to help us.  What does the Scripture say?  They that wait upon th e LORD

Jesus’ prayer sounds like a conversation in one sense that’s been ongoing for a while; in another sense He seems to be talking to those present.  His purpose is to remind those around Him just Who is the master of life and death as well as support His own mission.  One of the things that strikes me about this situation is the timing of it all.  Lazarus’ ressurrection came at the end of Jesus’ ministry it seems.

I don’t have much more to say except that I like how Jesus ended the whole session with,  “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”  He’d done what needed to be done; He didn’t need to say anything more or preach a sermon about God’s way for He’d just demonstrated it in such a powerful irrefutible way what more could He have said?

When all said and done, it’s our actions that speak the loudest, that say the most about what we do or don’t believe.  Jesus could have driven the point home with scathing words about their unbelief and selfish ambition, but He didn’t.  We are to be like Him in everything, which means learning when and where to apply rebuke or let the lesson of our example speak for itself.  Sometimes silence says more than words do.

I guess my point is that sometimes when our life just stinks, it’s not as bad as it seems.  We have to learn that our situations will not end in death even if we die temporarily—horribly or peacefully.  At times it may seem God has forgotten us, but the above story should dispel this worry effectively.  He never forgets His children.  At the same time, His perspective is so different from ours since He sees what He’s about to do and we don’t, which why we must trust Him with our outcomes and have faith that He loves us no matter what it looks like reality is.

Dietrich Bonhoffer died naked, blindfolded and alone.  Paul was beheaded according to tradition.  Peter was hung upside down.  John was exiled to small prison Island of Patmos after being, according to one church father, thrown in boiling oil and surviving.  Thomas was impaled by spears in India or there abouts.  James was beheaded…

Do you see what I’m driving at here?  For those who believe, circumstances don’t have anything to do with our reality in Christ Jesus, for He will turn even the worst of trials into pure gold.  And, then, of course there’s eternity with him.

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2 Responses to “For the Benefit of…”

  1. Rudolph Carrera Says:

    Your blog is making for wonderful reading. Thanks for the excellent writing.

    Rudy
    http://rudycarrera.com/religion

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