READING: John 11-12
From this point on, the Gospel of John moves rapidly toward the death of Jesus. Indeed, the death and the resurrection of Lazarus were not only another sign Jesus gave in this Gospel, but they were also a foreshadowing of what was to come for Jesus. He would die, but He would not stay in the grave.
No one fully understood that truth at the time, though. Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, believed Jesus could have healed Lazarus, but He didn’t get there on time. They trusted that Jesus had the power, but He apparently didn’t have the time. Even when Jesus ordered the stone rolled away from Lazarus’ tomb, Martha still didn’t understand what was happening: “But, Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days” (John 11:39). Death stinks, and Martha knew that. Jesus knew it, too, but He had no intention of this story remaining one of death.
Soon, in fact, Jesus would end the reign of death. Finally, His hour had come (John 12:27). The Father had gloried His name through Jesus’ coming to earth, and He would glorify it again through His death and resurrection. Jesus would be lifted between heaven and earth. His enemies would revile Him. His followers would weep. And, the demons would surely rejoice . . . .
But what they didn’t know was that God would break their back through the death of His Son. Somehow in God’s mysterious plan, “the prince of this world” would be driven out via the cross (John 12:30). Some who walked in darkness would find light, but only through the events of the dark hours of the crucifixion. Tragedy would turn to triumph; death would turn to life. Daily victory would become a reality. In the hymn words of Martin Luther,
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.*
Today — right now as you read these words — that enemy driven out by the cross remains a defeated foe. We lose the battles of spiritual warfare only because we grant him more power and authority than he really has.
- Throughout the day, praise the Lord that the enemy has been driven out.
- Remember believing loved ones who’ve passed away. Thank God that Jesus has turned death into life.
PRAYER: “Jesus, help me to trust You even when it seems like You don’t arrive on time. I want to trust You today and forever.”
TOMORROW’S READING: John 13-15