Was Lazarus sad or glad?

In John chapter eleven, the Bible gives us the historical account of Jesus raising His friend Lazarus from the dead. To this point in Jesus’ ministry, it was His most wonderful and undeniable miracle. Because of Christ’s mighty works, the plan for His execution was expedited (John 11:45-57). The chief priests even sought to kill Lazarus, since his resurrection at the hands of Jesus caused so many people to believe (John 12:9-11).

But there is something else here to consider.

What happened to Lazarus when he died? Did he go to paradise (Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22; 23:43)), or did he go to torments in Hades (Luke 16:23)?

It could be speculated that he went to either of the two places. If he had been a faithful Jew, turned disciple of John the Baptist, now currently a disciple of Jesus — as most information leads one to believe, it is assumed he would have gone to paradise. On the other hand, if he had been simply listening to Jesus as a friend, and had not yet committed himself to the commands of God under the Mosaic system, it is possible, God knowing his heart, that he would have been sent to torments.

For a minute, consider the ramifications for Lazarus concerning his earthly resurrection:

1. We have heard for years about “near-death experiences.” Nothing can be factually documented about the claims of these cases. But the facts surrounding Lazarus are quite different. He would have certainly learned something about the afterlife when he died.

In Luke 16, Jesus taught that when the other Lazarus (the beggar) died, angels were waiting and accompanied his soul to Abraham’s bosom. So immediately upon death, Lazarus of Bethany would have gone somewhere. Since his earthly remains had been in the tomb four days (John 11:17), he would have seen some things that others have not seen.

2. It may be that Lazarus could tell Jesus what to expect. Six days before the Passover, Jesus sat at the table with the risen Lazarus and talked (John 12:2).

We know not of the content of that conversation. Could it be possible that Lazarus shared his experience with Jesus? Was he sad to be back here on earth because he had been in paradise, or was he glad to have a second chance to get his life right? Did he have comforting words for his friend, Jesus, concerning the place where Jesus had told His disciples He was about to go? Did he have discouraging words for his unfaithful and disobedient acquaintances about the horrors of death for those who know not God? Continue reading

#lazarus, #resurrection

Now that’s encouraging!

Using a passage from our previous week’s Bible readings, 1Th 5.4-11, today’s sermon will deal with the resurrection still to come. We’ll focus on these points from verse 10:

  1. “Christ died for us.” His death had a purpose and brought purpose to us. Through him we escape wrath and come to salvation (v. 9). Seeing this purpose fulfilled in our lives requires alertness and sobriety (vv. 6-8).
  2. Whether we live or die, “alert or asleep,” that purpose will be fulfilled in those who are faithful. This touches on the problem the Thessalonians felt about those who were passing away. Paul guarantees that faithfulness to Christ is worth it. To die now is to pass to the head of the line.
  3. The purpose of Christ’s death is so that we can “come to life together with him”. To live with Christ, to have the life of God, to be in his presence forever, this is the precious gift of the Cross, restoring the reason for Creation and bringing man full circle back to the fellowship of Eden.

A death now in Christ does not miss this gift, but the Lord’s return will unite us all to him.

Now that’s encouraging! (v. 11).

When Paul preached righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment to Felix, the governor became afraid and sent Paul away (Acts 24.25). That is a terrifying trio of topics for us who work contrary to God’s will, act by the impulse of our carnal desires, and face the wrath of God towards everything that destroys communion with him. Christ died to make us right before God, give us the Spirit’s power to produce spiritual fruit, and allow us pray “Maranatha, come, Lord” because our dread has been turned into hope.

#1thessalonians, #death-of-christ, #easter, #resurrection


Will There Be Universal Justice?

Many in the world struggle with the existence of evil, the abuse of the innocent and a lack of justice across multiple spectrums of life. The struggle can be so intense that it leads many to disregard any acknowledgement of the existence of a Higher Being. Even Christians can fail at times to keep our eyes focused upon the crown to be given after the race is over.

I believe the late brother Burton Coffman used some wise words concerning these issues. It’s a little lengthy for posts here, but I believe the read is worth the time:

“Great and terrible as the concept of eternal judgment admittedly is, the most profound necessity for it is evident. Most of the truly difficult problems connected with the life of faith, and with reference to the entire system of Christianity, are directly related to the doctrine of eternal judgment. Heaven, hell, eternal punishment, eternal joy, Satan, and the problem of evil – all these things pivot in the last analysis upon the scriptural teaching of the judgment. All of the problems, great and small, eventually fade into insignificance before the pressing question, “Is this universe just?” The underlying assumption of revealed religion as set forth in both the Old Testament and the New Testament is the concept of a just universe; and time and time again it is unequivocably declared to be just (Psalms 45:6,7). The father of the faithful, Abraham, idiomatically inferred it when he asked, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). The existence of laws in the natural realm, the moral law within people, and the sacred revelation all alike proclaim the justice of the universe; and if it is not so, life indeed becomes “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Macbeth, Act V). Sanity in any true sense turns upon the question of justice in the cosmos. If the righteousness and justice of God do indeed establish his throne and undergird all things, then WE ARE SAFE; and every man shall receive the reward of the deeds done in the body (2 Corinthians 5:10); if not, then any true security of the soul is a fool’s dream, and man himself is but an infant crying in the night with no language but a cry!

But if the universe is just; if the righteous shall be rewarded and the wicked punished, AN ETERNAL JUDGMENT IS REQUIRED, a judgment in which all inequities and injustices shall be corrected, an eternal judgment presided over by infinite justice, wisdom, mercy, and love – in short, the judgment revealed upon every page of the sacred scriptures, or if not revealed, then certainly implied. The widespread neglect and apparent disbelief of this doctrine suggests that it is true of our generation, as it was of those to whom this epistle was first addressed, that we “have need again that someone teach us the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God” (Hebrews 5:12)” (James Burton Coffman Commentaries, Volume X, Hebrews 6:1-2; p.116; A.C.U. Press, 1971)

One part of scripture that I try to remember when my heart and mind ponders these issues is Psalm 73. While struggling over the existence of the wicked and their bounding prosperity over the righteous, the psalmist reminds himself and all of his readers about an extremely important point. He says in verses 16,17 – “When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me — Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.”

Although at times it’s hard to see and comprehend in this life, God’s word assures His people there will be universal justice one day; and this day will not have anything to do with any man-made court (Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29).

#bible-commentary, #evil, #hebrews, #judgment, #justice, #questions-and-doubts, #resurrection, #the-wicked-and-the-righteous, #universal-justice

Visiting his own grave plot

Gary Knuckles made this comment about preacher Ben F. Taylor (b. 1878), who died on this day in 1987.

… brother Taylor often would visit the plot where he would be buried. I don’t remember if I heard him mention this in a sermon or if someone related it to me, but he said he wanted to view the landscape before he died so he could see what would be before him in the resurrection of the last great day!

#death, #preachers, #resurrection

Just Wondering…

Not that a person has to or anything, but I was wondering if you have ever seen anybody wear an empty tomb around their neck before?

And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’” (Acts 13:32-35, NKJV)

#empty-tomb, #resurrection

Here’s More Than Hope

In John 11:25, Jesus made a simple, yet profound statement.

“I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

There is so much more than just hope in that statement. There is certitude. Wouldn’t have Job loved to hear that? Job said, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14a). All poor Job could do was hope, yet we have been given a “more sure word of prophecy,” (2 Peter 1:19).

Take the more sure word of prophecy from Jesus in the New Testament and remember: Jesus is the resurrection and the life. If you have obeyed him, then he is keeping your life hid in God (Colossians 3:3-4). You’re ready.

If not, then obey the gospel and get ready.

#god, #jesus-christ, #resurrection

Resurrection body – JAM

I have been thinking about our resurrection body lately. I read N. T. Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” and it caused me to review the subject again. John writes that when Jesus come, we will see Him as He is and we will be like Him. I believe this is in regard to the kind of body we will have in eternity. It was pre-revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration. Whereas before the incarnation, Jesus was Spirit without body – “God is Spirit”. But “inasmuch as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same”. When Jesus was raised, the grave clothes were left behind. The body had been transformed and there was no further need not use for earthy clothing. We find the same thing happened when Elijah was caught up in the whirlwind. He left his clothes behind! (2 Kings 2:13). From this I conclude that his body was transformed as it was taken by the fire-horse driven chariot. When Stephen looked into heaven, he saw Jesus standing beside the glory of God. As for God, Stephen saw glory; as for Jesus, Stephen recognized Jesus. He recognized Jesus because His resurrected body was recognizable, as it had been before His ascension. Perhaps I am overstepping, but I do not believe so. Jesus has a body, the same body that was on earth but glorified and transformed, and that body is a model of what ours will be (1Jn 3:2). So here are a few thoughts offered to provoke more thought.

#elijah, #resurrection, #stephen

2 Cor 5:1-8 ~ Resurrection or Intermediate? – JAM

The question for your consideration is: Does 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 describe the coming resurrection of the body or an intermediate state between death and the 2nd Coming and resurrection? My Nelson NKJV has “Assurance of the Resurrection” above this section of verses. This is typical of Bibles with topical headings added. JFB, the Bible Knowledge Commentary, the Evangelical Commentary, and others interpret these verses as resurrection. Even N. T. Wright, noted English theologian, gives it this meaning. However, I believe the primary focus of these verses (as does F. F. Bruce, New Century Commentary and others) is the state of saints between death and the 2nd coming. Leading into this section, Paul was talking about the “outward man perishing”. What happens if the outward man perishes, if our “earthly house, this tent, is destroyed?” We have “a building from God a house not made with hands.” One is destroyed, another is provided. The one is not the other; whereas, in the resurrection Paul emphasized the continuity of the body (“it is sown . . ., it is raised . . .” – the same one sown is the same one raised). While we are in this body, “we grown” (twice: v 2 & 4). Why? We put up with its limitations, looking forward to what God has in store for us (whether resurrection or intermediate). Paul raises the proposition of a “naked” bodiless spirit. Since such a possibility is impossible in life and in the resurrection, he must be speaking of the intermediate. But even then, God will provide clothes. Greatly preferred is the resurrection, “mortality . . . swallowed up by life”. We have the Spirit as a guarantee that God will provide eternal life. Thus, while in the body, we are absent from Jesus’ actual presence. But if we are absent from the body (this certainly mitigates against resurrection), we are in the direct presence of our Lord! I hope something here will provoke thought, consideration and study.

#intermediate, #just-a-minute, #n-t-wright, #resurrection

Caving In Under Pressure

The incident I’m thinking about is found in John 11:41-48 regarding the religious leaders’ (chief priests & Pharisees) response after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. When they heard the news of his resurrection, they instigated a plot to kill Jesus (John 11:49-53).

They caved in under the pressure of praise and popularity, being afraid of loosing their position of power and wealth within the Roman government.

They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43).

Men have not changed this manner of thinking in the 21st Century. Most still love the praise of men more than the praise of God.

This is a dangerous state to be found in (Acts 12:20-23).

#government, #incident, #instigate, #kill, #news, #plot, #position, #power, #priest, #regard, #religious, #response, #resurrection

The Resurrection is Easier to Believe

Barry Newton provides some excellent food for thought this morning on the believability of the Resurrection of Christ.

#forthright, #jesus, #resurrection, #skepticism

A Holy Celebration

Today as on every first day of the week we celebrate in remembrance the death, burial and resurrection of Christ our Savior as in Act 20:7. We partake of the bread as the pure and righteous body that suffered and died for us; drink the blood shed for the remission of our sins. Praise His Holy name.

I posted this on FB this morning. Some have copied and pasted on their home page. Feel free to do the same or simular to keep the truth moving forwards.

#celebration, #communion, #crucifixion, #resurrection


He’s alive! Praise God! Today we will celebrate the events that occurred on Friday-Sunday about 2000 years ago. Of course we will celebrate it again next Sunday and the Sunday after that and the Sunday after that. Acts 20:7

#communion, #crucifixion, #resurrection

My best thought about Christ is what the…

My best thought about Christ is what the apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:19-22:

“If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Thank God that our Lord is a risen Lord! And as He was resurrected, we too can look forward to our resurrection as well (Romans 8:11) to be forever with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

#christ, #resurrection