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"Lazarus, Come Out" - December 2012

Inheritance of Hope co-founder Kristen Milligan died on October 26. The following is part of a Bible study series she wrote. If your church, Bible study, team, or group has interest in experiencing together this study from Kristen's unique perspective as a nine-year cancer survivor, simply contact aaron@InheritanceOfHope.org.

It is said that if Jesus had not used Lazarus’ name when he called him from the grave,

all the dead would have risen. That is the greatness of God’s power!  God’s power was certainly made perfect in the weakness of Lazarus.  Remember what Jesus told Martha in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

Jesus is the life, and the life of Jesus filled the body of Lazarus and brought him back from the dead.  Death is what so many fear the most.  Something none of us can avoid, something none of us can protect ourselves against.  It does not discriminate between the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, the strong and the weak.  It is for all of us.  None of us has power over death.  None of us except Jesus, that is.  Not even death limits the power of our almighty God.

It is here in our story that Lazarus is allowed to take a role.  Lazarus is our cracked jar of clay, and the light of Jesus is seen clearly as the grave clothes are removed.  As Jesus orders the linens to be removed, He knows that it is against Jewish law for a dead body to be touched.  It is considered most unclean.  Lazarus must have created quite a conundrum for the Jewish leaders in this moment.  His body was dead, but then it was not.  Should the people be allowed to touch him, or would this defile them?  Christ’s power easily conquers the old laws, but many do not understand this yet.

Life would no longer be simple for Lazarus.  He is now a walking miracle.  He is a walking reminder of God’s power in the greatest of weakness.  Every step he takes sounds a trumpet call so tremendous that multitudes believe for the first time that Jesus is in fact the Christ.  It is no wonder that the Jewish leaders not only want Jesus killed, they also want to end the life of Lazarus.  For good this time.  John 12:10-11 tells us, “So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.”

Not only Lazarus is called to sound his trumpet.  All the people who witnessed this miracle are also to sound their trumpet, and they do.  Jesus makes sure that as many people as possible are present to see the miracle, and He does not mumble his commandment to Lazarus to come out of the grave, He shouts it.  No one can argue how this miracle came to be, and they certainly cannot help but share what they have witnessed.  Even the Pharisees could not argue with this great miracle, but to maintain the power they craved they worked diligently to silent the sounds of the trumpet.  In John 11:47-48 the Pharisees meet: “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

The Pharisees do not bother to argue that He is not who He says He is, yet they want Him silenced.  Of course, Jesus will soon fulfill prophecy by sacrificing His life.  But even that will not silence the trumpet sounds that began that day in Bethany.  John 12:17-18 -- “Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him.”

The sounding of our trumpets will bring the multitudes to Christ!  We must share our stories.  We must share how in our weakness God made us strong.  We must give glory where glory is due … this is what will change people for an eternity.  This is what will earn us, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

This devotional is part of a Bible study series titled Allowing His Power to be Perfect in Weakness written by Inheritance of Hope co-founder Kristen Milligan. The study consists of messages like this sent via email each morning for five days a week. The full series lasts sixteen weeks, though it can be tailored to shorter periods. The study also includes weekly questions, making it ideal for group discussion.

If your church, Bible study, team, or group has interest in experiencing together this study from the unique perspective of a nine-year cancer survivor, simply contact aaron@InheritanceOfHope.org.

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