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

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Jesus was still angry as he arrived at [Lazarus'] tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. "Roll the stone aside," Jesus told them.

But Martha, the dead man's sister, protested, "Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible."

Jesus responded, "Didn't I tell you that you would see God's glory if you believe?"

— John 11:38-40 NLT

Key Thought

Gritty. The reality of Lazarus' death — the sorrow, disappointment, friendship, finality, grave, 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 a greater reality: Jesus and his glory! Jesus overcomes 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 homes 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 homes. Bless them with faith so they can believe in the greater reality of Jesus' return in glory. Father, I also ask for confident faith for myself 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.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
  • 1 Corinthians 15:50-57
  • Matthew 25:31


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Illustration of John 11:38-40 NLT — "Didn't I tell you that you would see God's glory if you believe?"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.