Sunday, 16 March 2014

Lazarus and the Plot (John 11:1-57)

Hello All,
The poems which I have been sharing with you since the start of WEMB were my compositions but today’s poem is written by some people who wish to remain anonymous.
With their permission and encouragement, I took their poem and added the Points of Reflection part to it.
I pray that you will enjoy reading today’s Bible passage written in a distinctively different poetry style.

Lazarus and the Plot (John 11:1-57)
(Anonymous, Year 2012)
Four days in a tomb, the body laid, still,
When Jesus came to the ones he held dear
Word had been sent that Lazarus was ill,
But he tarried 2 days and finally appeared.

Martha ran out, her Lord Jesus to meet,
"My brother would have lived, had you been here,"
She cried out in sorrow as she fell at His feet,
"But Lord, even now what you ask, God will hear."
"Your brother has died but will rise again,"
"Yes, my Lord in the resurrection on the last day,"
She understood not what Jesus had explained
But she trusted in what He had to say.
 "I am the resurrection and the life,"
"They will live, all those who believe in me,"
"They will live forever, never to die,"
"Dear Martha, do you believe this?" asked he.
"Yes my Lord, you're the Christ, the Son of God,"
She said this with certainty and in faith,
"The Son of God who has entered the world,"
She called Mary who'd stayed indoors to wait.
"The Teacher's here and is asking for you"
 Mary ran to the place where Jesus was,
And fell to her knees, her heart filled with woe,
"If you'd been here we'd still have Lazarus!"
The Lord Jesus saw Mary's flowing tears,
His spirit was greatly moved and troubled,
"Where have you laid him?" Jesus inquired
"Come and see, Lord," to the tomb was He led.

When he arrived, it was told, Jesus wept,
"See how He loved him!" said those who stood by
"He healed the blind," others said with contempt,
  "So why did He leave Lazarus to die?"

Deeply moved, to the tomb Jesus came
To the cave where His beloved friend was,
To the entrance where a stone had been lain
To the entrance where the stone laid across
"Take away the stone," Jesus commanded,
"But Lord, he's been in there for four long days,"
There will be a foul smell" Martha added
She was surprised when she heard Jesus say,
"Did I not tell you that if you believed,"
"With your eyes God's glory you will perceive!"

And so the great tombstone was rolled away,
Jesus raised His eyes to heaven to pray,
 "Dear Father, You always hear what I say,"
"But I say this that those standing here may,"
"Believe that You've sent me," and so aloud,
"Lazarus come out!" he called with a shout.
 Lo, out he came wrapped in strips of linen
With his own death cloth still upon his face!
"Take off these grave clothes and then release him,"
Jesus said to a crowd greatly surprised and fazed!

What wonderous sign; our Christ has come;
 Once dead, now raised with power strong,
Lo, Jews believed in God's own Son!
As Lazarus walked back to his home.

 Yet others, fleeing from the Light,
Set in their hearts such evil shame;
And so the Pharisees were told,
Of threat to nation, honour, fame.
Out from the bubbling hideous crew,
Spake Caiaphas by God most high;
"Ye know not anything at all
T'is better one for all should die"

The scheming leaders understood,
To put the lamb of God to death;
Crouched at the door, they sought his blood:
He loved them till his dying breath.
The Holy Child, dear Jesus Christ,
Will go hence to the cross and sword;
Not for his nation alone, his price,
But every child of God abroad.

Points for Reflection:
 Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
·         Jesus is the embodiment of life itself. He has the authority to take and give life which is something only God is able to do.
·         Because of sin, all men are spiritually dead and would inevitably come face to face with physical death.
·         But those who trust in Jesus Christ will become spiritually alive in him and although they would not escape physical death, they will inherit eternal life in heaven.
·         In today’s Bible passage we see Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The resurrection of Lazarus points forward to the ultimate resurrection of Jesus Christ himself from the dead to save sinners like you and me.
·         Just as Jesus asked Martha if she believed in him, his question until this day echoes similarly in the heart of every men: ‘Do you believe this?’
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.  And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”  Jesus wept. (John 11:32-35)
·         Before Lazarus was raised from the dead, his sisters, Martha and Mary were in the depths of despair. Both of them said the similar phrase to Jesus, ‘If only you have been here earlier, our brother would not have died.’
·         I am sure there have been points in our lives where we have felt the same way as the distraught sisters and said to God ‘If only you have kept my loved one from dying’ or ‘If only you have prevented this great misfortune from befalling me’… ‘If only…’
·         Although Jesus knew that he will raise Lazarus from the dead, this foreknowledge did not keep him from sharing in the brokenness, sorrow and tears of Mary. He wept with her.
·         There are times when we are unable to understand why bad things happen. It is heart-wrenching to suffer those terrible losses but the most comforting fact is that we have a God who is not distant and indifferent to our tears but he weeps with us. And although we cannot see what good could come out from our misfortunes, God holds our lives in his hands and he knows all things.
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.  So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. (John 11:49-53)
·         There were religious leaders who were threatened by Jesus’ power and influence on the crowd so they sought to kill him. Their hearts were hardened and against him.
·         Caiaphas said better than he knew. What he meant to say was it is better for Jesus to die rather than allowing the whole nation of Israel to be completely surrendered into the hands of the Roman authorities who would view Jesus as a rebellion and threat. But what Caiaphas unknowingly foretold was the atoning death of one man, Jesus Christ, to save many who put their trust in him.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned... For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:12,17)

·         Perhaps you would know of many who oppose Jesus and seek to do away with him. They are those persecute those who follow him and seek to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let us pray that God will soften the hearts of such people so that they will repent and turn away from their sins.