Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Themes: Temptation of Jesus, Raising of Lazarus
Volume 8 No. 469 Mar 21, 2018
IV. Raising of Lazarus

I am The Resurrection And The Life

A Biblical Refection

Gospel Reading: John 11:1-45 (Shorter version: John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33-45)

The Scripture Text

So the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord he whom You love is ill." But when Jesus heard it He said, "This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it."

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go into Judea again."

Now when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met Him, while Mary sat in the house. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world."

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; and He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus wept. So the Jews said, "See how He loved him!" But some of them said, "Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he had been dead four days." Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me. I knew that Thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that Thou didst send me." When He had said this, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what He did, believed in him.
(John 11:3-7,17, 20-27,33-45 RSV)

Throughout history, human beings have struggled with the problem of pain and suffering but have not come up with many suitable explanations. Thus, we often encourage a sick friend to accept an illness because "It is God's will", almost as if we are saying God not only wants us to suffer but also takes some kind of pleasure in seeing us in pain. Today's Gospel reading gives us reasons to question this way of thinking.

The author of the Gospel according to John provides us with a glimpse of the human side of Jesus when Lazarus, one of Jesus' close friends, dies. John tells us Jesus was troubled and wept openly upon hearing about Lazarus' death. Since this is hardly the reaction we would expect from a deity who enjoys seeing people suffer, we can conclude from this story that Jesus is a God who does not like to see His friends in pain. So, let's stop blaming Him for all the evil in the world and let's stop telling people who are suffering to accept their pain because "it is God's will". It is not God's will that we suffer and die.

Where, then, does suffering and pain come from? Scripture tells us that pain, the drudgery of work, and death are consequences of sin and did not become part of life until man and woman disobeyed God (see Genesis 3). Since the devil introduced sin into the world, it is the devil, not God, who is responsible for all the pain and suffering we experience.

Finally, in today's reading, Jesus says He is both the resurrection and the life. This is just one of the seven famous "I am ……." statements we find in John's Gospel. The other six are: "I am the vine and you are the branches" (15:5) "I am the bread of life" (6:35) "I am the good shepherd" (10:11,14); "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (14:6); "I am the sheep gate" (10:7); and ""I am the light of the world" (9:5).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I praise You for restoring what was dead in me and for raising me up to new life. Yes, Lord Jesus, I do believe in You. I want to rise with You. Let me know Your presence today. Amen.

Source: A Christian Pilgrim

Raising of Lazarus - Timing of Jesus

by Father Gary

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he remained two days in the place where he was.
John 11:5-6

It is safe to say that most people, upon hearing of the grave illness of a close friend, would naturally try to drop everything to be by the side of their loved one as soon as possible. If, like Jesus, we had the power to cure our friend, how much more would we want to hurry! And yet, not only does Jesus not hurry, he deliberately waits until Lazarus is dead! The scriptures make it quite clear that "Jesus loved Martha and her sister (Mary) and Lazarus." When you think about it, Jesus seems to be exhibiting some rather odd behavior for someone who "loves" these three people so much. The inevitable conclusion: Jesus' delay IS love.

The disciples are the first to be perturbed by Jesus' behavior. In answer to their questions, Jesus even goes so far as to say to them: "Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, so that you may believe (John 11:14-15). Martha, for her part, had been anxiously watching for Jesus' arrival, and when he finally did appear she, as a friend of the Lord, wasted no time to gently remonstrate Jesus for his seemingly deliberate tardiness!

We, of course, come to understand later in the story that Jesus' intention is to raise Lazarus from the dead. As he always does, Jesus has a very good reason for this delay. But no one understands why Jesus is delaying until the end of the story, and this is very significant for our lives too. Like Martha, Mary and the disciples, we often find ourselves wondering what God is up to, unable to figure out his plans for us – often until the very end. In fact, don't things frequently make the most sense when we are looking at them in the rear-view mirror of life?

God has his own timing when responding to our prayers. He cannot be made to "hurry up" (I know because I try to get him to do this on a regular basis) or accomplish things in our lives according to our timetable or plans. These stories in the gospel are really the stories of our lives as well. Who hasn't been in a situation like Martha and Mary were in, anxiously and desperately praying for some outcome we feel is best, all the while wondering if God is even listening? Don't we wonder sometimes why prayers turn out differently than what we asked for? Why God is taking so long? Yes, the Lord frequently takes his time, even though he loves us as much as he loved Martha and Mary! He is glorified by our waiting for him in faith.

God has a perfect plan for our lives. He frequently appears to delay or seems to be deaf, or to allow things we would not prefer, but always, always, always he has our best interests at heart. He knows what we will prefer he had done once we reach eternity, and this is the key to understanding many of the Lord's mysterious actions in this world—and in our lives. 

God Is Always on Time

By Rick Warren

"Let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up"
(Galatians 6:9 NLT).

In the waiting room of life, you can choose to trust God instead of panicking. You also need to remember two things: One, God is never in a hurry. And two, God is never late. God's timing is always perfect.

What happens in those times where it appears that God is late? God is getting you ready for a miracle!

There are so many examples of this in Scripture, including the story of Lazarus (John 11). Mary and Martha had a brother named Lazarus, who was one of Jesus' best friends. They lived in Bethany, which was just a few miles from where Jesus was on the day Lazarus got sick. They sent word to Jesus that his friend was gravely ill and asked him to come to them.

He could have easily been in Bethany in an hour or two. But it took Jesus three days to go about five miles. When he got there, they told him, "You're too late! We've already buried Lazarus."

Jesus wasn't late. Because Jesus already knew what he was going to do. His goal was not to heal Lazarus. His goal was to raise him from the dead. Jesus' goal was not to just make Lazarus well. His goal was to do a miracle of astronomical proportions.

Jesus walked up to Lazarus' tomb, told them to roll the stone away, and said, "Lazarus, come forth." And Lazarus did!

Sometimes God lets a situation get so bad that only a miracle will do. Don't give up your faith. Hold on. Keep praying and serving and going to small group. Keep sowing. Keep believing. Because you're getting ready for a miracle.

God already knows what he's going to do in your life next month, next year, and in the next decade, and his plan for you is good.

Talk It Over

Where do you get the energy to go to small group and church and to keep serving when you're going through a difficult situation?

God's plan for you is good. Why do you think bad things still happen to you sometimes?

Take some time to write out a prayer to God that expresses how you want to grow and where you need help the most when you are in a difficult waiting period.

© 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Source: Daily Hope with Rick Warren

The Ultimate Resurrection
Gospel: John 11:1-45

Ezekiel 37:12-14
Romans 8:8-11
Psalm 130:1-8

"If the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He Who raised Christ from the dead will bring your mortal bodies to life also, through His Spirit dwelling in you."
-Romans 8:11

Ezekiel prophesied that God's people would have a spiritual resurrection, that is, repentance and conversion (Ez 37:12ff). Jesus gave Lazarus a physical resurrection (Jn 11:44). The Father and the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead not only in spirit but also in body. Jesus' Resurrection was not for the resumption of His earthly life. In His Resurrection, He was lifted up and glorified (see Jn 12:32), sitting enthroned at the right hand of the Father forever (Heb 10:12).

We who live and die in Christ will rise in Christ. Our resurrection will not be like that of Lazarus but like Jesus' Resurrection. "If the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He Who raised Christ from the dead will bring your mortal bodies to life also" (Rm 8:11). Jesus "will give a new form to this lowly body of ours and remake it according to the pattern of His glorified body, by His power to subject everything to Himself" (Phil 3:21). If we open the door of our lives and let Jesus enter, Jesus promises us: "I will give the victor the right to sit with Me on My throne, as I Myself won the victory and took My seat beside My Father on His throne" (Rv 3:21).

In two weeks, we will celebrate the first day of the fifty-day Easter season. We will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and of those baptized into Him and living that Baptism. How glorious and amazing is our resurrection in the risen Christ!


Father, give me an awe of You as I enter more deeply into the mystery of the Resurrection.


"Did I not assure you that if you believed you would see the glory of God displayed?"
Jn 11:40

Praise You, risen Jesus, glorified and reigning in glory. May Your name be praised forevermore!

Source: One Bread, One Body

The Simple Things

by Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Now as they went on their way, He entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
(Luke 10:38, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Balance always requires a fierce and ruthless examination of priorities. Our true priorities are not just lists of activities. They are candid reflections of our heart desires. What we deem important receives the most time, energy, attention and resources. The importance of right and balanced priorities is illustrated by the life of Martha.

Jesus knew that He was always welcome in the home of Martha. Scripture tells us that Jesus “had no place to lay His head,” but He often came to this home when He needed to rest or get away from the demanding crowds. At the age of thirty, the Son of God left His natural home and there is no record of His ever returning to live there. He often went to Bethany, to the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and even spent His final week on earth there. Jesus didn't have to wonder if He was welcome in this home or if Martha was “ready” for His presence. He knew she was. Can He say the same about us?

Seeking God begins with recognizing who He is and then inviting Him into our lives as Lord and Savior. If He is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all. For some of us, the problem is not that we lack a personal relationship with God. Our problem is that we are not “making room” for that relationship. Balance comes when we yield to His plan in the everyday moments of life.

One summer our family went to Pennsylvania where we visited Amish country. I have always been fascinated by the Amish people and enjoyed every minute spent in their beautiful and carefully ordered world. As our visit came to an end, I wanted to buy a souvenir to remind me of the peaceful days we had spent there, but everything I picked up was too expensive. Being a committed shopper, I was not about to let that stop me.

We travelled up and down the small hidden back roads of each community, looking for the Amish products known only to a few and to those relentless shoppers who were willing to persevere. I was beginning to lose hope when I spotted the small, white sign posted on the fence of a quaint and absolutely perfect house. “Amish Crafts” it said. This was it!

As we climbed out of the car, a sense of peace settled around us like an old familiar blanket. Our voices immediately dropped to a whisper as we tiptoed up the narrow stone path and gently opened the screen door. When we stepped onto the porch filled with beautiful Amish crafts, a woman welcomed us with a beautiful smile and introduced herself as Mary. She invited us to browse and to let her know if we needed any help. I have to admit that I was almost rude in my pathetic attempts to catch a glimpse of her home through the porch windows. Reading my mind, she graciously offered, “Would you like to come in and look around?” I thought she'd never ask!

Mary's home revealed a world very different from mine and an uncommonly simplistic lifestyle I desperately longed to experience. The house was sparsely furnished with only the necessities. Mary described her life and daily routine with words like “calm, uncomplicated, peaceful and serene.” When I asked why she had chosen such a lifestyle, she sweetly responded with words of wisdom I will never forget, “I have discovered that when my life and my heart get too crowded, there is not enough room for God.” Exactly!

An unbalanced life is too crowded for God. It is so easy to relegate our spirituality to religious activity when all He really wants is to spend time with us. He wants to wipe away every tear. God longs to share every hurt and celebrate every victory. The Father yearns to wrap His strong arms around us, bringing the peace and balance we so desperately need.

Instead, we often relinquish control of our life to unworthy demands dictated by a world that operates in “urgent” gear. We forget what is really important. The important rarely barges in while the urgent is always an offensive intruder. Certainly, there are times when the important is also urgent – but we must learn to discern between the two. We wrongly conclude that a busy life is automatically a productive life and think that a full schedule will surely produce a full heart.

I have great news! He loves who you are more than He loves what you do. Seek Him today. Make room for Him. He is waiting.

Let's Pray

Father, I am too busy and sometimes I feel like my life is spinning out of control. I'm tired. Help me learn how to establish priorities that please You and reflect Your plan for me. I commit to spending time with You each day, seeking Your wisdom and direction. I love You, Lord.
In Jesus' name,

Now It's Your Turn

Are you ready to evaluate your life according to God's priorities? Set aside time today to spend with Him. Grab your journal and record the truths He gives you about how to balance your life.

Determine the top five life priorities of your life. Brutally examine your calendar and checkbook to see where you spend most of your time and resources. We can give lip service to what we think our priorities should be, but until our daily schedule reflects those priorities, we are only "playing at life."



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