A New Song To Sing

Long ago Isaiah saw a day coming when the Lord’s people would sing a new song of confidence and salvation. In a strong city, with gates open to welcome the righteous, the prophet foresaw the faithful singing:

The steadfast of mind 

You will keep in perfect peace, 

Because he trusts in You. (Isa. 26:3)

Only when our mind stays on God can we have such perfect peace. Keeping our minds on Him is both a blessing to us in itself and the way to be further blessed. 

Minds set anywhere other than on God cannot remain steadfast because all else but Him is mutable, shifting and changing. But in Him, the faithful can build their house upon the rock (Matt. 7:24-27), and be in a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb. 12:26-28).

Trusting in the Lord is the soundest thing we can possibly do. So Isaiah further saw them singing: 

Trust in the LORD forever, 

For in GOD the LORD, 

we have an everlasting Rock. (Isa. 26:4)

Let us confidently sing the same songs of faith and praise today and fulfill anew the vision of the prophet.

Do You Ever Feel Alone?

We live in interesting times: we’re both more connected and yet more isolated than ever before. We know this is not true of every individual, but as a society, we have less meaningful connections, conversations and interactions than prior generations. 

A few years ago, a sociologist wrote the book “Bowling Alone” documenting a great decline of community-based social organizations. But now with the universal presence of digital devices and our headphones, we are isolating ourselves ever more every hour of the day and we are now watching, listening and playing alone.

But social isolation isn't even our worst or deepest loneliness. Our increasingly secular and irreligious age has taken farther from God and can offer only distraction or emptiness to fill our yearning for Him. 

Let us cry out like David did in the Psalms: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, For I am lonely and afflicted” (Ps 25:16). God is still there to help and to fill.

In any circumstance of loneliness, grief, angst, or sorrow turn to God. Again, like David said, “My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him” (Ps. 62:5). He offers to all comers the fullness of grace, hope and love.

As Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt 5:3,4).

A Conspirator’s Take On The Resurrection

“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”

Who said this? Chuck Colson.  

Whose that? An attorney who served for several years as Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon. His ruthlessness earned him the title “Nixon’s hatchet-man.” He authored the memo that became known as Nixon’s “enemy list.” It was commonly reported that he “would walk over his own grandmother if necessary” to get things done for his boss. 

That kind of attitude landed him in jail, but he truly knew the world of conspiracies, tricks and fraud. 

After his conversion, he viewed the whole world differently. After serving his time in prison for his Watergate related crimes, he used his considerable intellect and tenacity to preach the reality of Christ and the truth claims of scripture. He worked especially for prison reform and for more just and humane (read: Christian) treatment of prisoners during and after their incarceration.

Every Sunday Is Resurrection Sunday

Every year much of Christendom celebrates the “Holy Week,” remembering Jesus’ last week on earth. Beginning with “Palm Sunday” (commemorating the triumphal entry with Jesus being hailed as king), “Maundy Thursday” (from the Latin “mandatum,” meaning commandment) remembering Jesus at the Last Supper saying to his apostles, “I give you a new commandment,” Jn. 13:34), then “Good Friday” (good for us since He died for our sins on that day), culminating in “Resurrection Sunday,” or as it is often called in the English-speaking world, “Easter.” 

Annual celebrations were an integral part of the Old Testament system of worship with numerous yearly feasts, and every civil society has yearly patriotic and national commemorations and memorials. Many would find it strange for the church to not have such as well. 

But in the New Testament, every single Lord’s Day is a celebration of the reality of the physical, bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. The fact He died for us and that His tomb is empty is not important to us just one Sunday a year. 

The Lord’s Day is our weekly and continual celebration and commemoration of the greatest truth of all time. So every Sunday the faithful meet. Each Sunday we observe His divinely instituted memorial feast. Every Sunday we cry, “He is risen!” (Matt. 17:9. 27:64; 28:6;7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:9; 24,6,34; Rom. 1:4; 2 Tim. 2;8).

We have received, stand in and still today preach as the apostle Paul: “the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

Satan Tells Lies

You need to know this: Satan tells lies. He lies to you. He lies about you. And maybe most destructively, he lies within you. 

These lies are from his very nature. Jesus said there was, “no truth in him,” and that he lied, “from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44).

Thus Satan lies to us as he lied to Adam and Eve, saying that we won’t die from sin (Gen. 3:4). He lied to Jesus offering Him all the kingdoms of the world and saying that God’s promise of protection meant He could be foolhardy and presumptuous. (Ref. Matt. 4:5-11)

Satan also lies about us. He lied about Job right to the face of God and does so constantly about so many of God’s people that he is called “the accuser of God’s people” (Rev. 12:10).

Satan also lies within us. That voice inside our head that tells us that God doesn’t love us and won’t forgive us, or hasn’t blessed us enough or treated us fairly; is really his lies told in our own voice. 

But Jesus is true and the truth, the way of true life (Jn. 14:6). He tells us the truth even when it difficult and sobering to guide us to that knowledge and freedom that comes only in the truth (Jn. 8:32). Truly, “Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 2:4).

“Follow Me”

In John 10, Jesus taught of sheep and shepherds: “the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them…the sheep follow him because they know his voice” (Jn. 10:3,4). His sheep hear His voice and they follow Him. He further explained, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn. 10:27). He calls, He leads. The sheep know Him and follow Him. That’s pretty simply, but following Jesus is the very definition of being His disciple.

Following Jesus is the very definition of being His disciple. From the start of the gospel, when “He found Philip. Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me’” (Jn. 1:43). To Peter and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). To Matthew in the tax office, “and He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him” (Luke 5:28).

Some wanted to follow only after they finished other business first (Luke 9:57-62). They wanted to set the conditions by which they’d follow. And some, like the rich young ruler, refused to follow at all. He was told, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22), but he loved His possessions more. 

But still Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).

The message is still the same. We still have to follow Him. 

Seven Time Quoted Prophecy — Isaiah 53

After Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and “many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.” Matthew records, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES’” (Matt 8:16,17, quoting Isa. 53:4). 

Matthew used Isaiah’s “Suffering Servant” prophecy to show that the coming one would combine power and compassion. And it also foretold of unbelief over Him, and His rejection, innocence, and ultimately help unto salvation. This prophecy is quoted an amazing seven times in the New Testament, including by Jesus Himself. 

John quotes Isa. 53:1, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” (Jn. 12:27) when people didn’t believe even though they were shown many miracles. Paul quotes the same words to explain people not believing the gospel, and added, “they did not all heed the good news” (Rom. 10:16).

Jesus said this unbelief  that Isaiah foresaw would lead to His rejection of and death, and quoted vs. 12, “‘AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment” (Luke 22:37).

Peter referred to Isa. 53 three times in one paragraph telling how it all worked for our good.  He quoted vs. 12 on Jesus’ innocence, “NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH” (1 Pet. 2:22); vs. 5 on His suffering for our sake, “BY HIS WOUNDS YOU WERE HEALED” (2:24); and vs. 6 on our need for Him to do this, “FOR YOU WERE CONTINUALLY STRAYING LIKE SHEEP” (2:25). 

Thus it was easy for Philip to “preach Jesus” to the Ethiopian eunuch when he asked about this “passage of Scripture.” His request, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this?” (Acts 8:32-35) could be confidently answered because of how clearly Isaiah’s prophecy foretold of Jesus our savior, the suffering servant of God.

What Does God Require?

About a century before Judah would go into Babylonian captivity for their repeated idolatry and unfaithfulness to God, the prophet Micah asked, “With what shall I come to the LORD And bow myself before the God on high?” (Mic. 6:6).

While Micah lived, the temple in Jerusalem was fully functioning, and two of the three kings in his lifetime (Jotham and Hezekiah) were faithful men who made sure the priests carried out all the appointed sacrifices. But the key to approaching God was not found such offerings. “Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil?” (6:6).

The real requirement was something God had said before, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (6:6,7). The prophet was reminded of the words of Moses in Deuteronomy, “Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD'S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?” (Deut. 10:12,13). Such service is always for our good, and when has God ever asked for anything else?

See How He Loved — And Loves Still

When Jesus was on earth His love for others were clear. Those who saw Jesus weeping as He was led to the Lazarus’ tomb could see it, saying, “See how He loved him” (John 11:36). 

At the last supper, Jesus told the apostles how this love would act. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:14). Much later when John wrote about these things in his gospel, having had much time to reflect on them, he wrote, “Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (Jn. 13:1).

Christ’s deep and apparent love wasn’t reserved only for His time on earth with men. He is now “a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens” (Heb. 7:26). He is not separated from us in love, affection, and effectual help. He uses His exalted state to help us obtain the same. “He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). It not what He happens to do, but what “He lives” to do. 

Thus our hope isn’t just that He lives—He does!—but that from love, He lives to help. The love of a husband for His bride is ours in the continuing love of Christ Jesus our Savior.

Read And Go Outside

The Bible assumes that you know something of how nature works, but it also teaches you things about it that you otherwise couldn’t know. 

The glorious multi-colored rainbow? That’s God’s bow. He said, “I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth” (Gen. 9:13). The thorns and thistles? Part of the curses of sin (Gen. 3:18). That’s the Bible teaching us about the world. 

But then Job was asked to consider the mountain goat, wild ox, ostrich, locust, hawk, behemoth, and the leviathan (Job. 39-41) to learn about the might and wisdom of the One who created them. 

The Proverbs tell the sluggard to learn from the ant (Prov. 6:6-11), and teach moral lessons illustrated by leeches, pigs, and snakes. 

The apostle Peter teaches about sin from the habits of dogs and pigs (2 Pet. 2:22) and referred to Isaiah’s lesson about the temporary nature of grass—that “all flesh is like grass”— to teach about the eternal word of God (Isa. 40:7,8; 1 Pet. 1:24.25). 

And our Savior taught in parables wheat and weeds, vines and seeds, birds and trees and asked us to consider the lilies, and think of the sparrows. And He taught of sheep so we’ll understand about Him being our Shepherd. 

So read your Bible—and also go outside and look around.

A Sparrow Thrown In For Free

As the Bible tells us the story of God’s people, it reveals some of the details of ancient daily life. One of the things we find out is how much sparrows cost. 

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?” (Matt. 10:29). But if you spent a little more, you’d get an even better deal. “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents?” (Luke 12:6).

These birds were so cheap that if you bought four, another was thrown in for free. Still, “Not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matt. 10:29), and “Yet not one of them is forgotten before God” (Luke 12:6).

Have you ever felt so insignificant that you were just part of a package deal? Sometimes this world makes feel like these little sparrows: cheap, disposable, sold by the lot, even thrown in for free. We even talk about being so out of place we feel like “a fifth wheel.” 

But in all times of fear, doubt, and unease, realize that God that knows and cares about each individual one of us to the degree that “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30).

So, “Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:31; Luke 12:7).

The Strength (And Limits) Of Sin

Samson was the strongest man in the world because “the Lord blessed him” (Judges 13:24), yet sin made him weak, brought him to is knees and destroyed him.  

Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived because God gave him “a wise and discerning heart” (1 Kgs 3:12), but sin led him into great folly and took his heart from God. 

Moses was the humblest, meekest man in world (Numb. 12:3) and spoke to God face to face, as friend to friend (Ex. 33:11), yet sin provoked him into not honoring God (Numb. 20:12) and kept him from entering the promised land. 

David was “sought out for” by God as “a man after His own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14), yet sin led him to adultery, murder, and lies that caused him to “despise God’s word” (2 Sam. 12:9).   

Without Christ, fighting sin would be hopeless since it’s smarter, stronger, more cunning and more relentless than we are—and its wages are death (Rom. 6:23). But Jesus proved stronger than Samson, wiser than Solomon, more devoted that David and more humble than Moses. 

In Christ, we find help and a place for hope because while “The wages of sin is death…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23). And “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4).

The Messiah

The Jews in ancient times were looking for the “Messiah”—the wise, victorious, ruler whom the prophets had foretold. “Christ,” the Greek word equivalent to the it would become the word most associated with Jesus and carries with it the full hope of the prophecies. 

The prophecies told of a descendant of David (“a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” Isa. 11:1), who would be born in Bethlehem, (“O Bethlehem Ephrathah...from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel” Mic. 5:2) by virgin birth (“The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” Isa. 7:14). 

He would be both priest and ruler (“He shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne…a priest on his throne…the crown shall be in the temple of the Lord” Zech. 6:12-14). And He would care for the poor and for what was right (“With righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth...with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked” Isa. 11:4). 

He would do miracles (“Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped; and the lame man leap like a deer” Isa. 35:5,6) and preach good news to those who most needed it (“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release from darkness to the prisoners” Isa. 61:1).

The people of Jesus’ time took the Messiah prophecies seriously. Jesus’ ministry forced many to consider if He was the one they foretold. (“They said, ‘When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?’” Jn. 7:31). 

Though many believed, Jesus showed from the prophecies that He would be rejected (“Jesus said to them, ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD?” Matt. 21:42; quoting Ps. 118:22). Isaiah also foretold this (“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not” Isa. 53:12).

But in His rejection, He saved us all (“Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him, the iniquity of us all” Isa. 53:46).

From His rejection and death, God raised Him and, as the apostle Peter preached, “Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).

“Son Of God”

Jesus’ most commonly used title for Himself was “Son of Man.,” but the the most common title for Jesus in the New Testament is the “Son of God.” It was used by almost everyone who knew, or came to realize, who He was. The angel announcing His coming said He would called “the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35). John the Baptist testified to it (Jn. 1:34). Nathanael confessed it early on (Jn. 1:49) and Martha confessed in the cemetery (Jn. 11:27). 

Jesus using called Himself the “Son of God” (Jn. 10:36), admitted to it when asked (Lk. 22:70) and was well-known for claiming it (Mt. 27:43). It was used by the devil and demons (Luke 4:3;41). The Jewish leaders demanded He admit to it so they could charge Him (Mt. 26:63), yet the centurion at the crucifixion concluded He truly was (Mk. 15:39).

The resurrection powerfully showed it was true (Rom. 1:4), and it is what believers preached (2 Cor. 1:19) and confessed (Acts 8:37; 1 Jn. 4:15). Him being the “Son of God” is the faith by which we live (Gal. 2:20) and in which we hope for eternal life (1 Jn. 5:13). 

As the apostle John concluded his first letter: “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:20).

“Son Of Man”

His personal name was Jesus, a name revealed from heaven (Matt. 1:21). In the scriptures—the prophecies, the gospel and epistles—He has more than 150 names, titles and descriptions.

The title that Jesus Himself used most was “son of Man.” Because  the fact that Jesus is both God and man is such an important teaching ( l Jn.4;2; 2 Jn. 7), many think that the title “Son of God” refers to His deity and “Son of Man” to His humanity. But it’s a bit more complicated than that.

The phrase “Son of man” is used in the Old Testament to refer to humanity a few times (Isa. 51:12; 56:2; Jer. 50:40; 51:43). But it takes its special significance with Ezekiel, where “son of man” is his prophetic title (Ezek. 2:1,3,6,8 and about 90 more times). Daniel is also once called by this prophetic title (Dan. 8:17). 

The most important text for understanding the significance of Jesus' use of this title is Dan. 7:13,14 where “one like a son of man” comes in the clouds to the thrown of God and is given authority over the nations. This “one like the son of man” acts with the authority of God Himself. 

Jesus, “the son of man,” can forgive sins (Matt. 9:6), is Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8), commands angels and rules His Kingdom (Matt 16:27,28), and will sit on His glorious throne (Matt: 19:28). This is the “son of man” who came to seek and saved us (Lk. 19:10) serve and redeem us (Matt. 20:28) who was lifted up from our sins (Jn. 3:14). 

“More Blessed To Give Than Receive”

Acts 20:33-35   “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes.

34  “You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me.

35  “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Worldly minded people seldom understand the spiritual words of the Savior, and none are more misunderstood or maligned than the word’s that Paul reminds us of here. 

We don’t know when Jesus spoke these words since they are not recorded or referenced in the gospels. We only know that His inspired apostle attests to these words, and used them to teach the church the proper view of material things: that is, sharing, not coveting and hoarding.

It is more blessed to give than to receive because… 

…Christians view life and possessions are as things to do good with, not ends in themselves.to be accumulated. 

…helping others is more valued than seeking our own pleasures. 

…the spiritual is more important than the material. 

…the ability to give means that we have been first blessed to have enough of something to share.

…it follows the example and pattern of our heavenly Father. 

So let us seek every opportunity to give important things, both physical and spiritual. It is the blessed way.

“God Manifest In The Flesh”

1 Tim. 3:16  “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: 

God was manifest in the flesh, 

justified in the Spirit, 

seen of angels, 

preached unto the Gentiles, 

believed on in the world, 

received up into glory.” 

Here is the great mystery of God, that God would come in the flesh. He came as a man to redeem man. He came as God to reveal God to us. 

The scriptures as equally and readily affirm Jesus as God in one passage and man in the next. He’s  the son of God and the son of man.  

Jn. 1:14  “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Rom. 1:3,4  “His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

This is a fact hard to explain. The scriptures simply tell us that Mary was overshadowed by the Spirit and through this she conceived. (Ref. Luke 1:35-38) The faith of many has floundered and many heresies have sprung up in trying to explain more than the scriptures affirm and the faithful have always believed: That God was with us in the person of Jesus.

John 11: Cemetery Words (9) Lazarus Come Forth

Having assured Mary and Martha that their brother would rise again, that He Himself was the resurrection and the life, having the grave opened and praying before the crowd, Jesus does not disappoint. He speaks the words we who know the story have all been waiting for and that would have surprised those present, “He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth’” (vs. 43). 

In one of the great ironies of human existence, the dead always seem to obey the Lord better than the living, though He is the lord of them both (Acts 10:42; Rom. 14:9; 2 Tim. 4:1). So out he comes in his burial clothes. “The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth” (vs. 44). Jesus says, “Unwrap him and let him go” (vs. 44), since the burial clothes that bound him as no longer needed. He is now unbound by death and set free to life indeed. Just as the sinner freed from His and welcomed anew to his family to a new life here. 

And even more, we maintain our hope that one day with a loud voice Jesus will call our name, “For an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice” (Jn. 5:28). Let us be readying for that day, like “Many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him” (vs. 45).

John 11: Cemetery Words (8) Father, I Thank You

With the stone rolled away and all the witnesses gathered, there was but one more thing to before Lazarus was raised. It was time to pray. 

Jesus’ prayer directly states its purpose: so the hearers will know God sent Jesus. Jesus always knew was with Him and heard Him. This is not like many of our prayers that begin, “God, if you can hear me,” or “If you’re listening.” Jesus knew that He and the Father were always together. This was fully so the witnesses could know too. 

So Jesus prayed, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me” (vs. 41,42). Miracles gave divine credibility to those that worked them. Jesus’ enemies had constantly said that He worked miracles by the power of evil, saying “He is possessed by Beelzebul” (Mark 3:22, also Matt. 10:25; 12:24; Luke 11:15-19). Nothing could be further from the truth. 

So for the sake of absolute clarity in the minds of all that this was the power God—and Jesus is His son with all His power—Jesus prayed. And He fulfilled what He said when He first heard Lazarus was sick, that this is “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it” (vs. 4).

John 11: Cemetery Words (7) Remove The Stone

As Jesus stood with the family and mourners at the tomb Lazarus He was overcome with emotion again (vs. 38). Here is the great commiseration again. God from the great, gleaming glory above, who came to live with us in dirty, weak, corrupted world. 

When Jesus said, “Remove the stone” (vs. 38), He was reminded of just how corrupted and even smelly this world is. Martha said, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days” (vs. 39). Yes, Jesus knew about the corrupted and putrid flesh of the dead, just as He knew of the corrupted and putrid spirits of those in sin. 

We are given this assurance by the apostle Peter: “He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Pet. 1:4). 

From corruption to glory! In the gospel, there is the great spiritual hope of the transformation of our soul and the great bodily hope of the resurrection to a state suitable for eternity with God. Those present at the cemetery were about to see a foretaste of that as Jesus said, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (vs. 40).