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    21 days of prayer and fasting - John 11 

    It is a natural consequence of being human that we, like all living things, will fade and die.  Bondage to decay runs throughout the creation (Romans 8:21).

    Death is painful for those who are left (and maybe for those who die).  It was not part of God’s original plan when He made us so it comes as a shock. 

    At the heart of the story in this chapter is the amazing statement by Jesus in verse 25: “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, even though he die, shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”  

    Mary was perhaps so overcome by grief that at first she could not bear even to come out to meet Jesus.  Sometimes we feel (wrongly) that we have to get sorted before we can talk with God.  

    Martha was perhaps so overcome by grief that she had to live in the past - if only you had been here you could have healed him like you healed others!  Sometimes we cannot reach out to God for the present and future because we are stuck with painful memories and grief.

    Yet when she is in Jesus’ presence, Martha finds hope rising (verse 22).  “Whatever you ask from God I know He will give you!”

    As in John 9, Jesus does not explain why some receive a miracle and others do not.  Some are raised from premature death and others have to wait till the final resurrection when He returns.  But he knew, from his intimate fellowship with the Father though the Holy Spirit, that Lazarus’ death would be for God’s glory and to reveal who Jesus was (verse 4).

    Jesus does not breeze in and perform a miracle to impress people, though.  He cares deeply about his friends.  He takes time to meet the sisters.  He takes time to feel and express his own emotions.  Death is painful.  Seeing others grieving is painful.  Love feels deeply with others who are hurt.

    Lazarus was freed from death.  Of course he later died because the kingdom is here but it is not yet here in fulness.  We have to wait till the resurrection at Jesus’ return before those who died in Christ will be raised and those still alive in Christ will not experience death.

    He was free from death.  Notice though that he still needed someone to untie the linen cloths.  When we become Christians we are free from death.  We have eternal life in us.  We still need, however, to learn to live as free people.  That will mean learning from scripture and from those God has placed us with in the Body, praying and declaring the truth and having people we trust pray for us.  We may need deliverance from demonic strongholds.  We probably need good advice too.  All these help us receive from the Holy Spirit the freedom that we need.  All these help us continue to encounter Jesus.

    Freedom comes from encountering Jesus. 

    Chris Horton, 11/09/2018