Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus opened their Bethany home and hearts to Jesus. Are you ready for a journey back to Bethany? The Bible is your gateway. This family faced issues much like any on Main Street, America. Routines were repeated day after day… Jesus touched their ordinary lives with friendship.
Martha became resentful when Mary would not help with meal preparations. Mary experienced ecstasy while resting at the feet of Jesus, feeling really alive and loved. Lazarus became seriously ill. They sent a message to Jesus, expecting Him to come and heal Lazarus. He delayed and death took the brother and friend of the Lord. Sorrow and questions of the Lord’s absence surfaced. Why did He leave them to endure alone the taunts of those asking why He had not come? They buried Lazarus and four days passed. Now, there were only two friends in the Bethany house to greet Jesus on His arrival.
Their emotional roller coaster ride contained a measure of faith. They still did not know the answers to many questions. They did know the One who held all the answers. Jesus wept, not so much for his cherished friend Lazarus, as for the dear sisters. Death is the enemy He had come from Glory to defeat! Death separates unbelievers from God, because they reject the gift of His Son. When believers die, loved ones grieve as they experience temporary separation. Jesus shared the foundations of their faith in Him; He is the resurrection and the life. He asked if they believed. (John 11: 25-26) Flickering faith glowed in the darkness of death.
Jesus tested their faith. He instructed them to remove the stone from the mouth of Lazarus grave. Martha could not believe her ears! Lazarus lay behind the stone, bound with the stench of death! After four days in a tomb, costly anointing spices would be useless. This time Jesus asked too much! This made absolutely no sense!
They followed Jesus instructions. At His spoken word life returned to the body of Lazarus! Just as Christ acted in the creation of Lazarus world, (Colossians 1:16) He now spoke a second chance at life for Lazarus! Lazarus remained bound in his grave cloths, likely tripping over them as he walked from the empty tomb. He still bore the putrid smell of corruption and death. Jesus said to unbind him!
Many of us have painful memories buried from our past, sealed as placed behind a rock entrance to our hearts. We know the need to deal with the corruption there. Yet, others say let the past be past…We, as Christians believe with assurance that we are cleansed of all sin by Jesus blood. (1 John 1:9) Do we then refuse to completely unwrap ourselves from our rags, to unbind our deepest wounds? Jesus wants us to remove and cast away all rags. Our own righteousness is as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) Jesus wants us clothed in clean white linen, adorned to meet with Him at The Marriage of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:7-9) Throw away Lazarus rags; slip into glad rags today!