Posted by: District Evangelist Jeff Wiesel
“Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her “Your brother will rise again”.”
(John 11: 21-23)
Lazarus was ill and his friends, Mary and Martha, went to tell Jesus. Surely He could save Lazarus from the approaching death. What would Jesus do? We read in John 11: 4 the response of Jesus “…This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Mary and Martha must surely have found hope with this and may have expected Jesus to rush to His friend Lazarus and help him. John further tells us Jesus’ feelings and His reaction in verses 5 and 6, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.”
Jesus delayed going to see Lazarus, and with travel arrived four days after Lazarus had died. The body was already starting to smell. Martha felt it was too late “…if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
(John 11: 21)
Many can appreciate the feelings and emotions that the friends and family of Lazarus might have felt. If only Jesus had come a little earlier, things would be different. Feelings of loss and sorrow, no ability to change the situation, it appeared hopeless. Jesus had promised that this sickness was not for death, but to glorify God. It did not appear that way, as Lazarus was dead for a time and nothing could change for him. The disciples and Mary and Martha did not fully understand the power of Jesus and the love God has for all souls, living and departed. The salvation power of Christ is not bound by time, circumstance, or even death. It is universal and available for all. Jesus was about to show them! They would also experience the power of faith in Jesus, “But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
(John 11: 22) Martha kept trust in Jesus and continued to intercede for her departed brother.
Jesus called to Lazarus and we read in John 11: 44 “And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”.”
Death no longer had power over Lazarus. Jesus opened the door to renewed life. Lazarus could not be bound any longer by his illness and death.
In our time we experience this boundless love of God and the desire to save all souls in the service for departed. The message of Jesus in the gospel as recorded by John teaches us:
- It is never too late for God to help through Jesus. We do not need to remain separated from God due to our sins.
- We have a work to do when it comes to the departed. Our intercession in prayer for the departed souls coupled with unwavering trust in Jesus has an impact on the Lord. As New Apostolic Christians this is an opportunity for us to help souls.
- The condition of souls in the beyond does not have to remain as it has been for them. They do not have to remain bound by sin and remote from God.
Let us rejoice that new life is possible through Holy Baptism, Holy Sealing, and Holy Communion. This is made available to the departed souls via proxy at service for the departed. Through Jesus, all souls have the opportunity as it is recorded in 1 Peter 4: 6 “For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
Let us share in the Richness of Christ’s love for all through our trust in Him and our intercession for the departed souls.