What Jesus Did! 'Removing the Stench of Death' — John 11:38-40

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Again Jesus felt very upset. Jesus came to the tomb {where Lazarus was}. The tomb was a cave with a large stone covering the entrance. Jesus said, "Move the stone away." Martha said, "But Lord, it has been four days since Lazarus died. There will be a bad smell." Martha was the sister of the dead man (Lazarus). Then Jesus said to Martha, "Remember what I told you? I said that if you believed, then you would see the glory of God."
— John 11:38-40
Illustration of John 11:38-40 — "Remember what I told you? I said that if you believed, then you would see the glory of God."

Key Thought

Gritty. The reality of Lazarus' death—the sorrow, disappointment, friendship, finality, cemetery, and stench—is told in plain, straightforward, and gritty truth. Lazarus is long gone. His tomb is shut. His body stinks. His sisters are disappointed by Jesus' absence and tardiness. All those close to Lazarus grieve his passing. All these realities, however, have to give way to one greater reality: Jesus and his glory! Jesus contradicts our mortal reality. At least that is what faith says. So the issue we face in the bitter realities of death when it hits close to our home is this: Do we have faith that Jesus and his glory offer us a greater reality?

Today's Prayer

Holy God, please bless those that I know and love who now grieve because death has hit close to their home. Bless them with faith so they can believe in the greater reality of Jesus' return in glory. Father, I also ask for confident faith in that same greater reality. Give me courage, grace, and faith as I face my own mortality and the mortality of all those I love. In Jesus' glorious name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Again Jesus felt very upset. Jesus came to the tomb {where Lazarus was}. The tomb was a cave with a large stone covering the entrance. Jesus said, "Move the stone away." Martha said, "But Lord, it has been four days since Lazarus died. There will be a bad smell." Martha was the sister of the dead man (Lazarus). Then Jesus said to Martha, "Remember what I told you? I said that if you believed, then you would see the glory of God." So they moved the stone away from the entrance. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you heard me. I know that you always hear me. But I said these things because of the people here around me. I want them to believe that you sent me." After Jesus said this he called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man (Lazarus) came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with pieces of cloth. He had a handkerchief covering his face. Jesus said to the people, "Take the cloth off of him and let him go."

John 11:38-44

Related Scripture Readings

Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about those people who have died. We don't want you to be sad like other people—people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died. But we believe that Jesus rose again. So, because of Jesus, God will raise to be with Jesus those people who have died.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

I tell you this, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood (a physical body) cannot have a part in the kingdom of God. A thing that will ruin cannot have a part in something that never ruins. But listen, I tell you this secret: We will not all die, but we will all be changed. It will only take the time of a second. We will be changed as quickly as an eye blinks. This will happen when the last trumpet blows. The trumpet will blow and those {believers} who have died will be raised to live forever. And we {also} will all be changed. This {body} that will ruin must clothe itself with something that will never ruin. And this {body} that dies must clothe itself with something that will never die. So this {body} that ruins will clothe itself with that which never ruins. And this body that dies will clothe itself with that which never dies. When this happens, then the Scriptures will be made true: "Death is swallowed (defeated) in victory." "Death, where is your victory? Grave, where is your power to hurt?" Death's power to hurt is sin. And the power of sin is the law. But we thank God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:50-57

"The Son of Man will come again. He will come with great glory. All his angels will come with him. He will be king and sit on his great throne.

Matthew 25:31

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.