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March 2017

THE DEATH OF DEATH!

In John chapter 11, we hear and see Jesus demonstrate the truth about death. In verses 1 through 3, Jesus hears that his friend Lazarus is very sick, and his sisters, Mary and Martha, ask Jesus to come.
 
Now Jesus loved this family, so you would think that He would go immediately to their home, but He does not. Instead, He stays two days in the same place where He was.
 
In verse 11, Jesus finally says to His disciples that he is going to wake Lazarus out of sleep, to which they replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he shall do well.”  To which Jesus answered, “Lazarus is dead.”
 
This is very important: Jesus said in Verse 11, Lazarus is sleeping.  In Verse 14, Jesus says Lazarus is dead.
 
As Jesus now neared the city of Bethany, Martha came out to meet Him and said, “Jesus, Lord, if you had come earlier, my brother would not have died.”
 
In Verses 25 & 26 Jesus speaks these sublime words: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.  And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.  Believest thou this?”
 
To which Martha replied; “Yes, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
 
On arriving at the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus was touched by the sadness and sorrow of family and friends; and Verse 35 simply says: “Jesus wept!
 
In times of trials and sadness, Jesus grieves with us and for us.
 
In Verses 4 and 40, Jesus indicates that this occasion was allowed to happen that the power of God might be seen, and that the Son of God might be glorified.  
 
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Verse 41 says they took away the stone, and Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me; I know that thou hearest Me always. And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”
 
Verse 44: And he that was dead came forth.  Hallelujah!
 
Some thoughts: In verse 26 Jesus said whoever believes in Me shall never die; BUT we do die!  What is the answer?
 
Let’s go back to verses 11 and 14 where Jesus said,
Lazarus is asleep; Lazarus is dead.
 
Could it be that Jesus is calling our “first dying” (or death) just a sleep until the resurrection and that the “true death” comes at the end of the millennium, which is eternal death and eternal separation from God for unbelievers?
 
In truth, believers do not die (the first time), but simply fall asleep in Jesus.
 
John 8:51 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep My saying, he shall never see death.”
 
The story of Lazarus is extremely encouraging. Verse 44 tells us that he came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin.
  
Listen to these next words in Verse 44:
Jesus saith unto them, LOOSE HIM AND LET HIM GO!!!!
Hallelujah!!!
O, what a day that will be when all of God’s children who now sleep in Jesus hear that strong, melodious voice say: LOOSE THEM AND LET THEM GO!  Praise the Lord!
 
Beverley Carter

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