DAY 21.

The promises of God continue in real force today with the great promise found in John 11 with the promise given to Martha in v 25 that is relevant to us all.

The Lord Jesus said 'I am the resurrection and the life: He that believeth in Me though he were dead yet shall he live'.

He goes on 'and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die' what a mighty promise and statement this is for us to believe.

The back ground scene was of a beloved brother passing from this life and all the grief that surrounded it being poured out in front of the Lord Jesus.

He started His ministry at a wedding and now nears the end of it at a funeral not only so but He is attending the one of a very close friend.

Lazarus was to play a very important part in the final days of Christ;'s ministry on earth and one that was to transform death into sleep.

'Death' is the separation of the soul from the body of clay that will return to the dust from whence it came, the former returning to God its maker.

'Asleep' on the other hand brings us to natural sleep and waiting to be awakened at a given moment of time, Jairus daughter like Lazarus was in such a state.

Here the soul is quickened by the Lord bringing a lifeless body back to full health and strength to carry on living even though they both had been dead.

They had both been through the appearance of being dead being rest full and peaceful in the time preceding the moment when the Saviour demonstrated His Sovereign power bringing them both to life again.

Their loved ones looked only on the shell that was asleep but the soul had departed the body and so they mourn the loss of their loved one.

The Lord Jesus was going to show His mighty power over the greatest enemy that mankind faces and has barely come to terms with even today.

Death is a devastating enemy to the person outside of Christ, it is final and irreversible

causing great pain and heartache to those left behind.

Death is the most sobering thought to most people on the planet hoping that it would go away but sadly it is coming to us all.

Now the Lord Jesus turns 'death' into 'sleep' John 11 v 11 at Lazarus departure from life on earth He is to reveal that He will conquer death once and for all Himself.

Mary and Martha were dear friends of the Lord Jesus they meant a great deal to Him during His earthly ministry and here the relationship is brought to the fore.

He assures them the Lazarus will live again v 23 and they understand this as being on the Great Judgement Day when all human beings will be judged.

The Master is looking beyond that momentous moment for all of us, He is looking at the immediate life but they could not take it in.

So He begins to bring out His earthly ministry that is going to have a very abrupt end is not the end of life at all, it is the opening of the next phase of His ministry.

The fact that He was going to suffer death Himself was unthinkable to these folk because they only had knowledge of the immediate life and little on eternal life.

We approach the shortest verse in the bible v 35 'Jesus wept' and demonstrated His Son of Man title as He weeps over Lazarus but over the whole assembly of people.

In a few moments of time the weeping for sorrow turned to weeping for joy as the Saviour

calls Lazarus to come out of the tomb, there was no power known to mankind that could have stopped him coming out.

Lazarus was truly dead humanly speaking lying in a sealed tomb but instantly at Jesus command he is seen walking from the grave to be released from his grave cloths.

This was a mighty miracle observed by disciples of Christ and his harsh critics alike, they stand in amazement as Lazarus who was dead is now walking and living again on the earth.

The Lord Jesus is now speaking to the whole earth and not just to the gathered assembly in Bethany near to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

In v 25 He is opening up a topic that human nature the world over are terrified of talking about 'death, He is very shortly going to pass through the valley of death Himself.

It is how He is going to die that causes the pain and suffering the reason why is set before Him as a goal, 'for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross despised the shame' Hebrews 12 v 2.

He is now 'set down at the right hand of the Throne of God' a mighty victor over our greatest enemy death itself.

At the moment of time that Lazarus comes out of the tomb brought alive by the Lord Jesus He Himself is beginning to see the horror of death and the devastation it has on the family.

So He brings out a glorious promise to the believer 'though he die yet shall he live' the believer in Christ has the sting of death taken from them as they pas through the valley themselves.

'Death cannot keep its prey' is a statement of fact not a crutch to lean on, here is a definite promise that every believer can live in the light of, there maybe pain in the parting but there will be unimaginable joy at the reunion.

The unconcealed joy that erupted on that day in Bethany is hardly recorded by John look how the story tails of with a few words but the joy was ecstatic that day.

We need then to look at the Lord Jesus reaction to this event, He turns to His Father in prayer v 41, here we stop to gaze at the source of 'life' as well as the 'fountain of life'.

It is 'in Him that we have our being' Acts 17 v 28, all life proceeds from the Creator God, we are absolutely dependent upon Him for our life.

Equally so we are indebted to the Living God for our eternal life, that step through death of into eternity will be a tremendous one for us all.

In a moment of time the old earthly life will be superseded by the life beyond the grave, there is no break or stop as death is the doormat of eternity.

The Apostle takes up the theme in Acts 17 before a hostile disbelieving crowd who had only death to look forward too but the faithful preacher talks about death as the entrance into eternity.

The Unknown God to the Athenians and Greeks alike is the source and giver of life He reigns over death as He does life itself.

The beloved Son of God is centre of time as He is of eternity, what more could have been done for a human race living in rebellion to its Creator God, than the coming of the Son of Man to rescue us?

In John 11 the rescue act is brought into light so that the human race might believe on the Son of God and have their eternity transformed from darkness into light.

There is a beautiful promise in the final word spoken by the Saviour 'loose him' v 44, the fact was Lazarus came out of the tomb but with the old grave cloths around him.

Here is a truth worth pondering today 'loose him' or set him free, are we in a situation where the old earthly life is clinging to us and we need to be freed to walk in newness of life?

There are many areas of thought that we can look at including death that hold us back from pressing on in the Christian life.

Friends can influence us a great deal in our walk with the Lord and usually they are holding us back and not stimulating our spiritual walk.

There are hidden blemishes in our heart and mind that need releasing so that we can walk in newness of life unafraid of the future home call.

We should be liberated from all manners of earthly habits and longings as we contemplate eternity and the fact of our eternal home.

We should be living in the grand anticipation of that home call each day as we look forward with joy to the final parting from earth as we go into eternity and our heavenly home.