Note: I had reconstructive ear surgery on Monday and in my pain and confusion I mistakenly sent out the same First Things First for Thursday and Friday. I apologize for the confusion. This is the devotional that you should have received on Thursday. I appreciate your support of First Things First and your prayers for me as I recover.
“Remove the stone, “ Jesus said. Martha, the dead man’s sister, told Him, “Lord, he’s already decaying. It’s been four days.” Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” John 11:39-40 HCSB
In Bible times it was common for a deceased person to be placed in a natural cave or a cave made by men carved out of the side of a rock. A stone would then be placed over the entrance to the cave to keep grave robbers out and to conceal the odor of a decaying body. Having no technology to embalm a body, spices, herbs, and oils were applied to counteract the odor. After four days, Lazarus’ body would have begun the decaying process, the smell of which would have been overpowering.
Just imagine the surprise of everyone present when Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” That would have been the same as someone saying today, “Dig up the grave, I want to see the dead body.” Yet when they believed and did as Jesus had commanded, they saw the glory of God. Jesus had waited two days before beginning His journey to Lazarus, and then traveled two more days before reaching Lazarus’ home town of Bethany. Therefore, Lazarus died the day Jesus received word of his sickness. Jesus waited before leaving for Bethany so there would be no question that Lazarus was actually dead. Through Lazarus’ death, Jesus was able to bring glory to God by bringing him back to life and proving that He had ultimate power over death.
Challenge: Believe in Jesus and you will receive power over death. In Jesus Christ there is no death, only abundant life. As you believe and follow Jesus’s plan for your life, you will bring glory to God.