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28 March 2020

Unbound

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious One,

Yesterday I talked to you about the importance of My grace leading you to forgive those who have wounded you. That is hard. Today I want to talk to you about one of My greatest enemies (1 Corinthians 15:24-26) and one of the primary reasons I came to earth and walked as God among you. I came to defeat the power of sin and death and the hold they have over you.

Please know I hurt when grief rips apart your life and tears huge and gaping holes in your heart. My weeping at Martha’s and Mary’s pain, detailed in the verses below, is a reminder to you. While you shouldn’t “grieve like people who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NLT), death still can wound you even when your faith is rich and full. I knew that I was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, yet the grief of his two sisters tore at My heart. I know the great resurrection life I will share with everyone who dies and belongs to Me, yet the grief of each person’s family and friends still tears at My heart!

There are many things about John’s account of My raising Lazarus to life that can bless you and challenge you:

  • The fact that people die doesn’t mean I do not love them and those who love them.
  • People’s death is not a sign that I don’t hear the prayers of their loved ones.
  • People who die with faith in Me have not really died; just their bodies die. They are still connected intimately to Me and will be with Me throughout eternity.
  • I hurt deeply with the death of those who love Me, and I hurt and I am intensely troubled for their families’ pain as well.

There are even more messages for you to hear, but one clear message from Me to you today is this: death should not hold you hostage if you belong to Me! Listen to the last words in the verses below referring to Lazarus, who had been dead, and let them reverberate in your heart:

Untie him, and let him go.

Verses to Live

Before you read the account about Lazarus, I want to remind you of two passages in your New Testament that speak to the truth that death should not hold you hostage. I want you to hear both of them so that you have their echo of My truth in your heart as you read John’s account that follows:

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?”

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NLT)

Since we, the children, are all creatures of flesh and blood, Jesus took on flesh and blood, so that by dying He could destroy the one who held power over death — the devil — and destroy the fear of death that has always held people captive.

(Hebrews 2:14-15)

I hurt when you hurt because of grief, but please know that all grief for those who belong to Me will ultimately be caught up in glory on the day when the Father will wipe every tear from your eyes (Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4):

There was a certain man who was very ill. He was known as Lazarus from Bethany, which is the hometown of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary did a beautiful thing for Jesus. She anointed the Lord with a pleasant-smelling oil and wiped His feet with her hair. Her brother Lazarus became deathly ill, so the sisters immediately sent a message to Jesus which said, “Lord, the one You love is very ill.” Jesus heard the message.

Jesus:

His sickness will not end in his death but will bring great glory to God. As these events unfold, the Son of God will be exalted.

Jesus dearly loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. However, after receiving this news, He waited two more days where He was.

Jesus (speaking to the disciples):

It is time to return to Judea.

Disciples:

Teacher, the last time You were there, some Jews attempted to execute You by crushing You with stones. Why would You go back?

Jesus:

There are 12 hours of daylight, correct? If anyone walks in the day, that person does not stumble because he or she sees the light of the world. If anyone walks at night, he will trip and fall because he does not have the light within. (Jesus briefly pauses.) Our friend Lazarus has gone to sleep, so I will go to awaken him.

Disciples:

Lord, if he is sleeping, then he will be all right.

Jesus used “sleep” as a metaphor for death, but the disciples took Him literally and did not understand. Then Jesus spoke plainly.

Jesus:

Lazarus is dead, and I am grateful for your sakes that I was not there when he died. Now you will see and believe. Gather yourselves, and let’s go to him.

Thomas, the Twin (to the disciples):

Let’s go so we can die with Him.

As Jesus was approaching Bethany (which is about two miles east of Jerusalem), He heard that Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. Now many people had come to comfort Mary and Martha as they mourned the loss of their brother. Martha went to meet Jesus when word arrived that He was approaching Bethany, but Mary stayed behind at the house.

Martha:

Lord, if You had been with us, my brother would not have died. Even so I still believe that anything You ask of God will be done.

Jesus:

Your brother will rise to life.

Martha:

I know. He will rise again when everyone is resurrected on the last day.

Jesus:

I am the resurrection and the source of all life; those who believe in Me will live even in death. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never truly die. Do you believe this?

Martha:

Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Anointed, the Liberating King, God’s own Son Who we have heard is coming into the world.

After this Martha ran home to Mary.

Martha (whispering to Mary):

Come with me. The Teacher is here, and He has asked for you.

Mary did not waste a minute. She got up and went to the same spot where Martha had found Jesus outside the village. The people gathered in her home offering support and comfort assumed she was going back to the tomb to cry and mourn, so they followed her. Mary approached Jesus, saw Him, and fell at His feet.

Mary:

Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would still be alive.

When Jesus saw Mary’s profound grief and the moaning and weeping of her companions, He was deeply moved by their pain in His spirit and was intensely troubled.

Jesus:

Where have you laid his body?

Jews:

Come and see, Lord.

As they walked, Jesus wept; and everyone noticed how much Jesus must have loved Lazarus. But others were skeptical.

Others:

If this man can give sight to the blind, He could have kept him from dying.

Then Jesus, Who was intensely troubled by all of this, approached the tomb — a small cave covered by a massive stone.

Jesus:

Remove the stone.

Martha:

Lord, he has been dead four days; the stench will be unbearable.

Jesus:

Remember, I told you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God.

They removed the stone, and Jesus lifted His eyes toward heaven.

Jesus:

Father, I am grateful that You have heard Me. I know that You are always listening, but I proclaim it loudly so that everyone here will believe You have sent Me.

After these words, He called out in a thunderous voice.

Jesus:

Lazarus, come out!

Then, the man who was dead walked out of his tomb bound from head to toe in a burial shroud.

Jesus:

Untie him, and let him go.

(John 11:1-44)

Response in Prayer

There are no words, dear Father, to express my thanks for the assurance that You care about my grief, heartbreak, and loss. I find myself angry at the emptiness and seemingly incurable wound that grief leaves in me. However, dear Father, because of Your grief at the sacrifice of Your Son and because of His power over the grave, I trust that my grief will be absorbed in the victory You have planned for me and those who share My love for Jesus. I just need the comfort and tangible sense of Your presence during times of sorrow to help me hang on to that faith. Please be near, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

© 1998-2020, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus‘ is part of the Heartlight Network.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unbound
Source: Passion for Praise