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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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The raising of Lazarus

The Council of the Chief Priests

John 11 50 and 51

John 11:47-52

Not everybody was happy when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, to say the least! As usual, the Pharisees and the religious powers of the day saw only the threat that Jesus saw to their position, and not the fact that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Immediately afterward, all of these right way started plotting how they could remove this threat to their place of control and influence.

As is also the norm, we quickly see that God had things well in hand, even when things seemed grim and without hope. God is not sitting back, just watching things unfold and hoping they work out okay. Today, we again live in a world that does not want to see and accept that Jesus is the promised Messiah, but wants to hang on to their position of control. Now, as then, many plot ways that they might impede or even destroy the work or our Lord and His people.

The world continues to be an unfriendly place for the children of God, and it is getting worse rather than better. Friends, God is working His plan and His promises are secure. All things which happened are either caused or allowed by Him to happen. Remember that, when the powers and Pharisees are coming after you that now, as then, God uses everything in the furtherance of His sovereign plan.

The Sorrow of Mary

john 11 28 and 29.JPG

John 11:28-34

As in the past, Martha and Mary have distinct ways of reacting to things. Martha ran out of the door and way down the road to more or less confront Jesus. Mary simply waited; she never left the place she was until Jesus called for her. Martha seemed to understand fairly clearly that Jesus could make things right; she said so. It is not clear from the story how much Mary really understood, as we are not told that. Mary seemed to understand that Jesus had things in hand, even if she did not know precisely how.

Mary’s reaction is telling, though. Despite her possible lack of complete understanding she did something; when Mary did meet Jesus, she “fell at His feet.” She simply surrendered herself to her Lord, reaching out to Him for comfort and trust that somehow He could make things right.

Mary waited. Jesus called. Mary came running and threw herself at Jesus’ feet. Friends, there is a great lesson here. We will never always be in full comprehension of God’s plan, and sometimes waiting rather than charging forward blindly is the best course. Eventually, Jesus will call, and when He does we also need to come running. Finally, sometimes we simply need to surrender and reach out to Him with trust and faith. When we do that, we may be granted to see God’s plan unfold in all of its glory. As this story continues, we see that this is what definitely happened.

 

Jesus Reaction to Lazarus’ Sickness

John 11_4

John 11:1-7

The next verse in this story, we see, “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” Clearly, our Lord had a special relationship with Lazarus and his two sisters; yet upon hearing his dear friend was sick Jesus waited two days to go to them. We know from other places that Jesus could have simply spoken healing and Lazarus would have been healed; Jesus actually had no need to go there at all. This must have seemed shocking and even callous to the sisters.

There is so much depth to this story that we could explore it for pages, but space won’t permit that, so we can capture just a couple of quick thoughts here.

Thought one is that we often lose sight of just what the point of things is in this life. As much as God loves us, and desires us to life joy filled lives, the point of our lives is not some “personal fulfillment,” as many preach. The ultimate point is always God’s desire, God’s plan and finally God’s glory.

Point two is that, as we will see as we explore thoughts this week; no saved child of God will ever remain dead, but will be finally resurrected into a glorious eternal life that we cannot even imagine. As with Mary and Martha we may not understand it all here and now, but also like them if we are just patient and persevere, one day we will understand it all.

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