“When Loved Ones Are Taken In Death”

Posted: February 16, 2017 in Gospel, Gospel of John, Resurrection, Salvation

John 11:1-44

Our lives on earth are like a vapor that appears for a moment and then it is gone (James 4:14). We never know when our last day on earth will come to us. Making every day count for eternity is crucial. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul” (Mark 8:36)?

Problem. The two sisters of Lazarus had a real problem. Their brother, perhaps the breadwinner, was very near to death when they sent word to Jesus concerning his condition. They made no demands of Him hoping that He would do what was necessary to insure that their brother wouldn’t die. But strangely, Jesus waited for two more days after hearing about the condition of His friend. In the meantime, Lazarus died and the sisters were devastated.

If Only. When Jesus finally arrived at Bethany, Martha hurried to Him only to say, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). She wasn’t aware of what Jesus planned to do for her brother that would bring much greater glory to God than merely keeping Lazarus from dying.

Clarity. Jesus wanted Martha and Mary to trust Him and get a clearer picture of Him. Martha believed that God the Father would answer Jesus’ request concerning her brother. When Jesus referred to Himself as “the resurrection and the life,” she didn’t grasp the true significance of that statement as it related to the immediate situation and the condition of her brother. Jesus wanted her to know that whatever God the Father could do, He could do also. They both shared the same essence and attributes and were equal in their Deity (John 10:30; See Colossians 1:15-17; 2:9; John 1:3; Genesis 1:1).

Emotions. When God the Son added to His deity a true human nature and body, it came with emotions too (Philippians 2:5-11). Unlike us, He had no sin nature (Hebrews 4:15). His human body became hungry, tired, and weary (John 4:6). He exhibited righteous anger without sinning (John 2:15; See Ephesians 4:26). Jesus wept and seems to have been deeply grieved when He saw their unbelief and unwillingness to believe that He could and would do something for their brother, Lazarus (John 11:35). Could it be that the Holy Spirit is grieved by our lack of faith or our sinful conduct (Ephesians 4:30)?

Communication. Before doing what He intended to do, which was part of God’s plan for Him (John 5:17), Jesus lifted His eyes toward heaven and thanked His Father for hearing Him and answering His request to allow Him to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41, 42). When He called Lazarus by name, he came forth to the surprise of all who were there (John 11:43).Then many believed in Him, but there were some religious leaders who feared losing their authority over the people and wanted to kill Jesus and Lazarus (John 11:45-53). How sad to think that some of these people were unwilling to admit that He was the Promised Messiah and the Son of God just so they could retain power. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world [or has temporary power over other people], and loses his own soul” (Mark 8:36)?

Power. Ultimate power rests with God alone (Revelation 1:8). The work of creation is likened to God’s finger work (Psalm 8:3), but His resurrection power is the greatest power of all. With it Jesus will raise everyone who has died, each one in his own order (1 Corinthians 15:20-26). The Apostle Paul wanted this kind of power to do the work of God for His glory (Philippians 3:10). Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5; See Philippians 4:13).

Death. Physical death is separation of the spirit and soul from the body, not the annihilation of the wicked dead (2 Corinthians 5:8; See Revelation 20:10). Spiritual death is the separation of the person from fellowship with God (Genesis 2:17; Ephesians 2:1; 4:18). Physical and spiritual death can be reversed, but the second death is irreversible (Revelation 20:14; 21:8). Dying physically in unbelief is the unforgivable sin today (John 16:8-11). The lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels but all unbelievers end up there with him forever where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46). We don’t want you to end up there. You don’t have to go there.

Gospel. The Good News is that Christ died for us sinners…and rose again bodily on the third day and can save any and all who will place their faith in Him alone to save (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Acts 16:31). We aren’t saved by our good works or by our faith plus our good works (Ephesians 2:8, 9). The right formula: Grace + Faith = Salvation + Good Works.

No Death. Two people living in the Old Testament times didn’t die: Enoch (Genesis 5:24), and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1, 11). These two men illustrate for us what will happen one of these days when Jesus comes back for the true believers and takes them to the “Bridal Suite” that He has been preparing for them (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Will you be in that number? We hope so.

Sorrow. When a loved one is taken from us in death it’s not easy to bear. Jesus never told believers not to cry at such times. “We sorrow, but not as those who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). “When you grieve, when you’re confused, yes, and even when you’re angry, don’t hide your feelings from God and pretend everything’s alright. He knows you better than that. And since He is the Truth, He can handle the truth.” C. R. Swindoll. Remember, Jesus, our High Priest sympathizes with us (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Help. If you aren’t sure of your eternal destiny, we can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. Would you share it with someone else who might benefit from it too? Click on “Follow” to receive future articles as they come out.

Clear Gospel. http://www.cleargospel.org/wp-content/uploads/English-Display-Pkg-2014.pdf

Clear Gospel – Audio: http://www.duluthbible.org/the-gospel-audiobook/

God Honoring Music: www.abidingradio.org

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