March 23, 2011

Thursday, Day Fourteen

            The Lectionary

Morning - Psalm 62, Genesis 29:1-13, 18-20, 1 Corinthians 7:1-17
Evening - Psalm 66, Jeremiah 5:20, John 11:17-27

Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.  Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, 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? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Verse 17 is the proof of Lazarus' death.  He was in the tomb four days.  We will find this proved again when they open his tomb and know the truth of Martha's words, "he stinketh."  Jesus wanted everyone to know without doubt, "Lazarus is dead."  If he is not dead, Christ's words in John 11:25 are meaningless.  What power is required to wake a man that is merely sleeping?  Cannot any mere mortal do that?  But to restore life to this stinking, rotting corpse requires power no mortal can possess.  He is the resurrection and the life.  Therefore, those who believe in Him, though they were dead in their souls as well as their flesh, will live, and those who live in their souls through His gift of eternal life, will never die.

            Devotional Thoughts

We are experts at justifying our actions.  If we are disrespectful to someone, we convince ourselves he deserved it. If we fail to seek God in prayer and Bible study we convince ourselves we just don’t have time.  If we fail to worship God, we say Sunday is my only time to rest, or play, or _____ (fill in the blank).  If we fail to keep the spirit or the letter of God's commandments we tell ourselves we have some special excuse, or convince ourselves it is the commandments, rather than ourselves, that are wrong. 

In stark contrast, true confession admits that sin is sin.  Confession agrees with God that my sin is disobedience to God.  My sin causes hurt to others.  My sin wrecks my relationship to God and prevents me from experiencing the full joy of Christ.  My sin embarrasses the cause of Christ on earth.  My sin brings shame on the name of Christ’s Church.  My sin is a stumbling block to others.  My sin contributes to the general malaise of this sin-sick world, and because of my sin I am as much a cause of the problem as any other person, and apart from the grace of God in Christ, there is in me no good thing.