Isaiah 25:7-8 (NIV)7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations;8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.
Take a look at this painting by John August Swanson, “Take Away the Stone.”
Note the beauty of the colors. Take a moment to reflect on how Jesus has removed the shroud of death from our lives. Jesus being the great I am, has compassion for you, sincerely cares for you. He is moved to tears for you. Let’s experience Jesus as the resurrection and the life today, as he wipes the tears from our faces. Our only response is to rejoice because of what he has done for us.
Let’s pray: Lord, you remove the shroud of death from our lives. We come to you today with the tears in our lives, and we receive your compassion once again. We confess that we do not have your tears for others as we should, but we ask that you would give us your tears for this generation. May others we are reaching out to experience you removing the shroud of death in their lives. May you wipe away their tears. In Jesus’ name, amen.
John 11:43-44 (NIV) 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 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.”
“Christ overwhelmed the grim scene of Lazarus’ grave with his own power, and he faced the specter of his own death with the confidence that the same power of God would rescue him from the grave. John 11 is thus a story designed to encourage us, to give us strength to face our own mortality (or the death of someone near to us) by virtue of the Lord whom we worship. Resurrection is not now a new principle imposed on human life; the Lord who is resurrection has now imposed life where there was only the prospect of death.” [NIVAC, John, 331]
This Jesus encounter encourages us in the face of difficulties and gives us the strength to face our mortality or our loved ones’. When a crisis hits, we may ask what we have done with our lives. May we bring our tough questions to Jesus.
Let’s pray: Lord, you are all-powerful. Forgive us for trying other ways to answer life’s tough questions. We bring these questions to you. We are in need of the Spirit’s power today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
John 11: 33,35,38-39 (NIV)33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39“Take away the stone,” he said.
“O church, your God is ‘outraged and troubled’ (v. 33) over you, coparticipating in your burdens by being angry and mournful at sickness, death, and sin. The ‘unmoved mover’ (Aristotle) is moved to tears for his people, the shepherd of his sheep (ch. 10). ‘We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin’ (Heb 4:15). Worship the Lord, all his people, for he has come to you, meeting you where you are in your difficulties, embracing the suffering you face just as fully as he embraces you.” [E. Klink III, ZECNT (Kindle)]
As we learned Sunday, Jesus approaches like a “wrestler preparing for a contest”, troubled by the effects of death on his loved ones. Church, he is outraged and troubled over us, meeting us where we are.
Let’s pray: Lord, how great is your compassion. Thank you for embracing us in the midst of our difficulties. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Here again” by Elevation Worship.
John 11:20-22 (NIV) 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
“In the person and work of Jesus, life is no longer bound by death, and death no longer may willfully intrude into life. Death is so impotent for the Christian that he or she can actually die and yet still live (v. 25)!..The Christian shouts with the apostle Paul: ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ (1 Cor 15:55). For this reason, sickness and death are no longer what they seem…According to the Gospel of John, Jesus is life. Therefore, the life of the Christian is no longer defined by his own living but by the life he has in Christ.” [E. Klink III, ZECNT (Kindle)].
Martha was faced with an impossible situation, her brother being dead for four days. But, she expresses faith in Jesus when all seemed hopeless. What are the areas in our lives that seem beyond repair? Let’s come to Jesus, who is life, and trust him.
Let’s pray: Lord, we confess our lack of faith. May we trust you with an “even now” faith with the difficult circumstances in our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Way Maker” by Sinach (cover Leeland).
John 11:25 (NIV) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.
“The story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus is one of the great transition stories in the Gospels, for it sums up the meaning of Jesus’ ministry thus far as the Giver of Life and anticipates the death and resurrection of Jesus…This story proves the love of Jesus for his friends and the love of God for all of us…All the hopes of God’s people throughout history have focused on sharing the life of God and thereby defeating the power of sin and death, and here we see all that is centered on Jesus, who is “the resurrection and the life” (v. 25).” [G. Osborne, John Verse by Verse (Kindle)]
Jesus’ compassion for us led him to pay the ultimate price by dying on the cross for our sins. Through our union with Christ, death no longer has victory. Resurrection reality is not something that awaits us at the end of time. Let’s declare that the same power that will enable us to live for eternity is God’s same power in our lives today.
Let’s pray: Lord, you are the giver of life. Thank you for your compassion for us. May you fill us with your power and help us to live this resurrection reality today. In Jesus’ name, amen.