John, Chapters 11 & 12 tell the story of a family of believers and followers of Christ named Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Jesus was really close to this family and cared and loved them very deeply.
Read John 11:1-44 & John 12:1-8 to see what I’m talking about. You don’t have to read it aloud, but it might be beneficial to read some of the key verses. This will help you set the stage!
The events of these couple of chapters and the implications of what they mean for us is amazing. As you read these couple of chapters, you will be told of the story of your life in who you were and who you are now!
You really have to look at this story with a couple of different sets of lenses to see where we are going with this lesson, however, we will just be scratching the surface of what we could draw out.
We are going to take a look at how Jesus has rescued us from Death and brought us to life – then how He is worthy of us giving that life and everything we have right back to Him.
Romans 6:23 tells us “The wages of sin is DEATH, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:1-2 tells us “As for you, you were DEAD in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live in the ways of the world.” But goes on to say that we are now “made ALIVE in Christ”.
These are pretty shocking accusations from Paul in regards to our lives. I mean, before I was a believer, I was still breathing and could run, jump, wake up from sleep, play sports, etc. I thought I was very much alive when I was younger without a care in the World. However, when my scope of the world broadened and I was exposed to the junk of this world that quite frankly made me feel like junk inside – I started decaying, dying even and I wasn’t sure why. I know now that it was because of the “ways of the world” I was following and the “sin” that was surely killing me inside. Yet, when Christ called me out I experienced life to the fullest (John 10:10) and I was made ALIVE in Christ Jesus!
This is why Lazarus being literally, physically being called out of the grave by the words “LAZAURUS, COME OUT!” should be so very impactful for you and I.
This is exactly what Christ did for us and does for believers all around the world. Because of His blood, His Lordship, and His power… He says “WADE, COME OUT!” or “[Insert Name here], COME OUT!”. Come out of your bondage, the bandages of your sin that represent your un-healed wounds left by the sin in your life. Come out of your decaying life and body and receive me and my gift of eternal life for you. Come out of a life that is dependent solely on you and your pleasure and come live for me, because I will give you life abundantly.
If you truly open up your senses, specifically your sense of smell and read this story – you can almost imagine the two distinct smells. The first smell you would catch a whiff of would be Lazarus’ dead, decaying body that has now been dead for 4 days. Imagine you seeing the bandages/wraps being taken off of Lazarus body, each one representing another barrier from Him and true life. We can really see ourselves in this, as Jesus very carefully unravels the mess that is our own lives to free us up to live for Him. Will you answer Him as He is calling out to you? He’s screaming, standing outside of your own walking tomb, [Insert Name Here], COME OUT!.
The second smell and part of the story is much more appealing, but twice as hard. I’m mean, in the first part, yes you have to deal with nastiness, mess, sin, and death. But the part about accepting life and getting rid of death seems pretty appealing to me.
Mary had accepted that life in Jesus’ name. She adored Him. I believe she loved Him even more for loving her brother enough to save his life. Her expression of that love and adoration led her to giving sacrificially of herself and her possessions to Jesus. We can use her as an example of what our response to Christ should truly be. As she poured out the Pint of expensive perfume, equaling a years salary, on Jesus’ feet…she wasn’t concerned with the cost to her. She wasn’t even concerned with what the culture (even the people in the room) thought about what she was doing. She unashamedly and uninhibitedly poured out her love and expression through her gift on Christ. In that moment she said to Christ that He was worthy of her life and her most prized possession.
WOW. It brings a certain sense of shame to me as I read that story. Because, I hold on to the things of this world, my own possessions, and especially my own life so tightly and dearly. Christ calls us to pick up our cross and follow Him, to die to ourselves, to lose our life so that we might find it in Him. He calls us to all of those things, because He is Worthy of it all.
How will we respond? Can we realize that Jesus calls us out of death and into His life SO THAT we can give that life received right back to Him to be used for His glory and in His Kingdom. We are bought with a price, we are not our own. But when we submit our lives to Him, He allows us to experience it more abundantly and to be more fulfilled by it.
What are you holding on to? DO you believe and know that He is Worthy of your life? Do you need to “Come Out!” and be resurrected in Him?