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John 11 contains probably one of the most powerful stories in all of Scripture – The raising of Lazarus. I remember my mom telling me the time she had gone to see the movie, The Greatest Story Ever Told. She said when it came time for the intermission, no one in the theater got up or even moved. You see, they had just ended the first part of the movie with the raising of Lazarus.
When Messiah uttered the words to Martha, ”I am the resurrection and the life”, creation rumbled and groaned. All of heaven and earth heard that statement that day. It is a statement that rattled the cages of darkness; invoking great fear on the powers of the underworld.
The little village of Beyth Anyah (Bethany) wept that day. Martha and Mary were broken hearted at the loss of their brother, for they loved him very much. The Master loved him also; very deeply. The shortest verse in all of Scripture is ‘Yahushua wept’. The sisters said, if only You had come earlier our brother would not of died. The Yehudim there that day said, ‘isn’t this the one who opened the eyes of the blind, yet could He not prevent him from dying’?
It is only when death occurs that one realizes how much ‘The Resurrection’ is needed. Mary, Martha and all the people there that day, were broken and helpless, with hearts as tender as little children. What was precious to them had died. They longed for comfort and a lifting of the pain and sorrow of the loss they had experienced. All the things in their life, up to that point, didn’t seem to matter anymore, but only to be relieved of the grief they felt.
The process of death is a grieving process. The pain of letting go comes from the helplessness to hold on to what we hold dear any longer. It is only when all the hurt, loss, brokenness and abuse that we have carried all our life, is finally laid down at the feet of Messiah, that He responds with, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he dies, he shall live”.
He weeps for us to believe in the very reason He was sent into the world; to redeem back to His Father those who would come unto Him as helpless little children (His family). He weeps because His only passion is to take that which was dead and bring it to life again. He is the Creator, He cannot help but to create life and to restore something to life that was previously dead. His nature is life.
Death to self is a grieving process. The sin, hang-ups, hurts, hate, rejections and pain we have held onto all our life, often seem to be our only reason to live. ‘I mean, without the baggage I carry in my life, I have no justification to live the way I do any longer… right?’ Letting go of what seems to be one’s own identity most certainly is as painful as losing a loved one. If the sin I hold onto, cling to with all my heart is gone, I no longer am able to control my own life or others in doing what will bring me the greatest happiness.
This morning, at 2:20 AM, I awoke with these words in my spirit:
“when what is most precious to you is dead, only then can He come and raise you to life”
It is not until we decide to die to what seems to be life in our eyes, that we can be raised to what is life in His eyes. The sin, the emotional hang-ups, the blaming of others for our own state of being, must die and be buried, rolling the stone in front of the tomb and portal of our past. It is only when we have laid to rest our most precious life and come to Him in tears and brokenness, with the humility of a child, that He declares, “COME FORTH”. Only the Author of Life, can raise up a new life from one that has been eaten away at, rotting and stinking. Our old decaying life – the past, is now raised to new life – the future. He raises us up out of the ash heap and places our feet upon a rock. The Master of Life raises our life, so others can believe He is the resurrection and the life (Ezekiel 37:6 and John 11:42).
The seed must be buried to bring forth new life – new life must come forth to bear fruit. There is no fruit without first dying. What if the only thing that is keeping someone in your life from believing in the Resurrection and the Life, is your own inability to die and bury your own self. How can other’s see the esteem and resurrection power of the Most High, if we are not putting ourselves into a place to be resurrected? Our own death to self could mean the resurrection life of someone else. This is the true meaning of laying one’s life down for a friend.
Death to self is hard. He never said it would be easy. It grieves to let go of what so ‘easily entangles us’. If right now, what is of precious value in our sight does not become what is of precious value in His sight, we are merely covering up our own ability to see what He sees for our future. If this is the case, we are living our future now and remain forever blinded to what He has called us to be. The time is now to evaluate what we hold onto as precious and dear, and to realize that the only thing that will be left standing is what is precious and dear to the heart of the Father. It’s time we COME FORTH from our slumber and lose the grave clothes of our past. The final call to COME FORTH is soon with the shofar blast of His coming.
Now, more than ever, is the time to bury what He sees as dead; for to continue to carry around the corpses of our past and the sin of our present, is to reject the very reason Messiah entered the world; to resurrect the eternally dead through belief in the eternally Alive.
“For to me, to live is Messiah, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)