John 12:1-2 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him.
Last week in our ladies’ Bible study, we look at John chapter 11, but rather than focusing our attention on Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, we paid particular attention to the four day waiting period that occurred from the time of Lazarus’ death until the time that Jesus arrived at Bethany. We also considered the response of both Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus and the weight of the wait. The wait for Jesus must have been almost too much for the sisters. They knew Jesus. He was a personal friend to them, and they knew in their hearts that if He had been there, Lazarus would not have died. They even sent word to Jesus regarding Lazarus’ illness, but Jesus tarried. He delayed His return to Bethany on purpose so that the glory of God would be made known. There was a belief of some during that time period that up to three days after death, there was some mystical way that breath could be restored to a dead person. Jesus didn’t return on day one, two, or three. No, He showed up on day four. It was too late for Lazarus in the eyes of those in Bethany, but it wasn’t too late for Jesus. Perhaps everyone had given up hope. The sisters who had faith that Jesus was the Messiah had even lost faith. Their hope was dead. But Jesus…Jesus arrived right on time raised up Lazarus from the dead, and at the same time, He raised up both Mary and Martha from a dead place in their hearts. His actions brought their dead faith back to life. Yes, He raised them up too.
When we read chapter 12, we see that Lazarus, the man that was raised up from the dead, is sitting at a table and eating with Jesus. This is a pretty cool thing to consider. Literally, a man who was dead is now dining at the table with the Jesus. That is powerful. This is a reflection of what God still does for His people today. Lazarus was dead, but Jesus raised him from the dead and seated him right beside him at the table. Jesus does the same thing for you and I. Until we come to know Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are dead. We are spiritually as dead as Lazarus was in that tomb, but we don’t have to stay dead. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and invite Him into our hearts, He gives us a newness of life. For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Romans 6:4 Yes, He raises us up, and that is not all. He then seats us in a seat of honor and glory with Him. That even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:5-6
Before Christ, we are lifeless. With Christ, we become full of life, but that is not all. He doesn’t just give us life everlasting, He invites us to sit at the table with Him. He invites us in. He invites us into a close fellowship with Him, a loving relationship, and true communion with Christ. If that doesn’t rock your world, you better check your pulse! So many times in this life, we worry and fret because we didn’t receive and invitation to someone else’s table. We may feel we were not good enough. We may think that the other person doesn’t like us. We may feel that we have done something to offend them. None of that matters to God! He knows who we are to the very center of our beings. He knows us. He knows the good, the bad, and the ugly, and yet He wants to raise us up from the death of sin, and He wants to bring us right to His table. He wants to forgive us of our sins and trespasses, and He wants to wash us whiter than snow. And just like Lazarus, He wants to seat us in a place of honor and glory.
Isn’t Jesus just absolutely, totally amazing, y’all? The love and grace that He has for mankind is absolutely mind boggling. We are such broken people, but He takes the broken and makes us new. He raises us up from spiritual death and revives us. He can take any part of our life that is dead and resuscitate it. If you are feeling a bit lifeless today, call on Jesus. He will raise you up today! He is inviting you to His table. That is an invitation that you really need to accept!