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

Friday, August 10, 2018

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 NLT
Illustration of John 11:38-40 NLT — "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.

Related Scripture Readings

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


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.

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.