the hospital my father-in-law went into a coma; medical technology indicated
no brain activity. My godly mother-in-law made the decision to disconnect the
respirator and trust her husband to the hands of the Great Physician. Like many
other families a difficult decision was faced. Each day is a matter of life
and death – facing life and being prepared for death. Do we have the resources
Martha and Lazarus, close friends of Jesus, experienced a life and death moment.
Lazarus became very ill and his sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, behold,
he whom you love is sick” (v.3). They probably thought that message was
enough, and the loving relationship between them would bring an imme-diate response
by Jesus. However, the crisis was an opportunity “for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified” (v.4). Both life and death must be
surrendered to Jesus for His glory.
Jesus in your life (vv. 1-22)
message from Mary and Martha indicates their confidence in Jesus. This influential
family had other sources available; they still turned to Jesus. Martha’s
greeting, upon Jesus’ delayed coming, further demonstrates her trust. “Lord,
if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that
whatever you ask of God, God will give you” (vv. 21-22). What is your source
of confidence when the “even now” experiences of life come? Faith
is not just “Forsaking All I Take Him”; faith is also “For All
I Trust Him.”
brings us the grief of “various trials,” so that “the genuineness
of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is
tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of
Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:6-7). Our faithful trust in Jesus when life caves
in brings glory to Christ and influences all those around us. Trust Jesus; trust
His timing; trust His will.
disciples questioned the wisdom of Jesus returning to Bethany, where “lately
the Jews sought to stone” Him (v. 8). Jesus’ response (vv.9-10) instructs
us on how to live each day. Seize the moment. Live in the light of God’s
will. Walk by faith. Trust Jesus in your life.
once asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
He issued that query after telling a parable encouraging us always “to
pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1-8). Pray and trust Him to come. We
feel, like Paul, the gradual decay of “our earthly tent” and “groan”
with life’s burdens; nevertheless, “we are always confident…
for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5: 1-7).
Jesus in your death (vv.23-44)
is not enough to trust Jesus in our life; we must also trust Him in our death.
Dying on the cross, Jesus committed himself into the Father’s hands. Can
you do that when death approaches?
only needed a tomb for a short while; there was not time nor need to carve an
epitaph on the stone. His word to Martha and us is far better. “I am the
resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall
live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (vv. 25-26).
The raising of Lazarus displays the awesome power of Christ over the forces
of evil, corruption and death.
is a death-exalting and death-avoiding culture. While rock bands sing about
death, we want the funeral director to disguise death. While some ask the physicians
to take every measure to keep a loved one inhumanely alive, others go to Oregon
and ask for medication to end life. Abortions kill the unwanted infant while
neonatal units fight to preserve the premature born. We can’t have it both
ways. Life is to be lived and death must be faced.
was Jesus’ attitude toward death? “He groaned in the spirit and was
troubled” (v. 33). The word groan “connotes anger …. Perhaps
it expressed his resentment against the ravages of death that had entered the
human world because of sin” (Merrell C. Tenney. The Expositor’s Bible
Commentary, Vol. 9, 1981, p. 119). We have His promise that “The last enemy
that will be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26).
you believe this? “Whoever lives and believes in me shall never die”
(v.26). My mother-in-law believed it, and knew her husband did also. That faith,
while she lived, gave her the resources to tell the physicians to remove the
machinery and let her husband go. The Living Christ makes all the difference
in life and death.