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Trapped in the Tomb?

Come Forth!
John 11:38-44

Tombs deeply affect Jesus. They move him to tears. His mission in the world is to end the darkness of the tomb for all of His creation. That is incredibly good news for us, yet we turn the celebration into bunnies and chocolate. On Monday morning, we want to roll over, cover our heads, dread the day. Like Martha, we don’t want the tomb opened being sure of the stench.

Jesus stands by Martha and all Lazarus’ friends ready to show them what glory God can bring out of a tomb. “Come forth!” A commanding voice to reach the ears of the unreachable.
What stinky tomb are you rolled up in: a failure in your marriage, in your career, a failure to produce or to prove trustworthy? Maybe it’s just the failure of the frail body you inhabit. Or maybe you stand by someone’s tomb weeping like Martha, convinced that the one inside is unreachable.

“Come forth!” Hear the voice of the one who breaks open tombs.

“Come forth!” Shake off the paralysis and step towards His light. Even dead people have a future. Surely that means you do, too! Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you would see God’s glory?” (John 11:40)

Lord Jesus! You are alive! You have proven the truth of the life you offer me. You have told me to come forth and live for you. Shape my life into one big thank you that echoes your voice to others trapped in their tombs. Amen

The Light Within
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 4:6
Would you say that your eyesight is a wonderful gift from God? I sure would. To see a smile on a friend’s face, gaze into the night sky, survey the Grand Canyon. What scene comes to your mind?

Perhaps the joy and amazement of seeing God’s creation leads us to seek light and shun darkness. But here’s the thing, our eyes can deceive us. In fact, Satan, the prince of darkness, will often use our eyes to do just that. He’ll have us look intently at an unpaid bill, an angry boss, a beloved uncle lying in a casket. He’ll whisper that God has abandoned you, that there’s no hope. He’ll take the dark visions before your eyes and use them to darken your heart.

When Jesus came to comfort Mary and Martha after the death of Lazarus, He came to bring light into the darkness and show His power over death. He came to shine His holy light in our hearts, the knowledge of the glory of God. Then Jesus Himself burst forth from the tomb, forever!

He is Risen! His light shines in our hearts! We see His face through His Word and by His Holy Spirit. We labor in His Kingdom and wait for the day when we will see Him face to face!

Manifestations of Death

Mental, emotional, spiritual death leads to thoughts of loss of hope, joy, happiness, creativity due to denial, pain, fear, hurt, anguish. When we give power to these emotions, a little piece of our hearts and mind die and we tumble into a pit of despair. This is not what Jesus died for. We don’t have to stay there drowning amidst the muck because there’s a Hand that stretches down that reaches out just waiting for us to grasp it and cling to it for dear life. Jesus’ resurrection is our Hope that we can rebuild that we can come back from whatever devastation that threatens to suck us down and steal our very life’s breath. God is faithful and He will use whatever means necessary to bring us back home, to His land, and with a promise like that we can look death in its face and say, “If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?” Freedom and victory are found when we face whatever ails us – with Jesus!

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15

The ropes of death surrounded me; the floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death itself stared me in the face…He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. Psalm 18:4-5, 16.

Light

As a kid, I was afraid of the dark. When I was home alone, I would turn on all the lights to push away the dark. I knew, even as a kid, that dark and light cannot occupy the same space at the same time. When the lights were on, the dark was gone. Now that I am older, I am still afraid of the dark, but the dark has different meaning. I am afraid of the darkness of the world: illness, unemployment, divorce, failure. My fear of the darkness can be paralyzing. I need the light!

A world of darkness is not the world God had planned. It is our sin that has brought the dark. But God in His infinite mercy has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and has brought the Light. Through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus, we have light. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 Do you need light? Follow Jesus!

God, thank you for your gift of light, Jesus. He is the One light that expels all darkness and will never be overcome or burn out. Lord please shine in us so that we can shine brightly for the world around us. Help us to share your love, joy, and peace to a world that lives in dark. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tears by the Tomb

When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who were crying with her, he was deeply moved and troubled. So, Jesus asked, “Where did you put Lazarus?” They answered him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus cried. John 11:33,35

Tears are often prayers without words. Our eyes are awash with fears and pain, sorrows and losses. And Jesus hears and understands. Today, to release the meaning of the tears you unexpectedly and uncontrollably shed, name them with words to give yourself an understanding of your tomb. Write a prayer of Tears by the Tomb. Know that Jesus is beside you, shedding tears, too. Add a declaration to your prayer, that Jesus stands ready to not only wipe the tears away, but to call you from this tomb. Thank Him and praise Him.