From death to life

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Friday, April 12, 2019

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus lifted His eyes upward and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me, but I say this for the benefit of the people standing here, so they may believe that You sent Me.” After Jesus had said this, He called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The man who had been dead came out with his hands and feet bound in strips of linen, and his face wrapped in a headcloth. “Unwrap him and let him go,” Jesus told them. John 11:41-44

The resurrection of Lazarus has many practical lessons that can empower and encourage believers. The setting for this miracle is Bethany. In Hebrew, the word “Bethany” means “the House of Poor. In Greek, it means “the house of affliction.” Bethany was a poor Jewish town about two miles east of Jerusalem, at the foot of the Mount of Olives. It was the home of Simon the leper (Mark 14:3-10), and the place where Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume (Matthew 26:6-13).

Jesus stayed overnight in Bethany during his final week of earthly ministry. The preparation for Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was made in Bethany. More importantly, it was near Bethany that Jesus ascended back into heaven (Luke 24:50).

The name Bethany belies its prophetic, messianic and theological significance. In this passage, Jesus taught us several valuable lessons. First, Jesus wants to remove the barriers that are blocking our spiritual, or personal, or emotional, or professional, or educational vitality. The stone at the mouth of Lazarus’ tomb was intended to keep him from ever walking out. It represented finality and defeat. By asking the people to remove the stone, Jesus was telling them that even death is not final.

Can I tell you that no matter how devastating or defeating your circumstance may be, with faith in Jesus Christ, it is not the end? The challenge for many of us is that we refuse to remove the stones that are preventing the dead things in our lives to come back to life. Many of us have internalized our defeat and do not think that God can revive the dead areas of our lives. Until we are willing to remove the stone that is blocking our restoration, we will never see the miracle of God in our lives.

Second, Jesus prayed before he called Lazarus to arise from death to life. Someone with cancer can't just trust chemotherapy and radiation to defeat their disease. They have to pray before, during and after their treatment. Every disease is spiritual in nature. Without faith in the miracle-working power of God, it is impossible to defeat any disease. Only God has the power to bring dead things back to life. Prayer is our way of inviting God to help us remove the stone that is blocking our path to regeneration.

Third, after he prayed, Jesus spoke to Lazarus and commanded him to come out of the grave. In the same way, we have to speak to our circumstance with spiritual authority to have the victory. We cannot wish dead things to come back to life. We have to pray and speak over them because our words have the power of life and death.

Lastly, when Lazarus came out of the grave, Jesus asked the people to unwrap Lazarus and let him go. Too many Christians are allowing fear or criticism, or shame and guilt keep them from making the best of the second chance that God has given them. If God has brought to life your spiritual passion, then use your spiritual gift in an area of ministry. If it is your marriage, then use your experiences to help other couples succeed, and to make sure you serve your  spouse faithfully in the ministry of marriage for the rest of your life. Where God has restored your health, visit those in the hospital, encourage those battling cancer, and support wellness initiatives. If it is your finances that God has brought back to life, be a cheerful giver; be generous with the poor, and be a good steward of the resources that God has given you.

Don’t give up on the dead areas of your life. All things are possible to those who believe (Mark 9:23). God wants to make you a poster child for a miracle. But he needs your faith, your courage, your determination, and your willingness to remove the stones that you allow to block you.

Prayer- Father, give hope, strength, and courage to those who are defeated. Help them to know there can yet be life amid death.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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