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The Christian Struggle (8 of 26)
OPENING ILLUSTRATION: Imagine if you will that terribly sad day when the beloved Lazarus was laid to rest. From all we can tell he was the Patriarch of the family, Mary and Martha his sisters looked to him as their priest and friend. But all of that was over now, something had taken hold of him and would not let go. The haunting specter of death had seized him. He was dead. One day, two days, three days passed and the mourning continued. Barefoot and clothed in sackcloth Mary and Martha honored their deceased brother in keeping with the traditions of their people. They burnt spices in a small hole at the side of the tomb dug for such a purpose. The spices were served two purposes, one was represent prayers of thanks to God for the time they had with this man, the other was to mask the horrid stench of death that seeped from the rotting corpse inside.
It was during one such ceremony that the Christ arrived. As he approached the tomb he wept, for Lazarus was indeed his friend and death was indeed his enemy. Mary and Martha approached the Lord with a measure of indigence offering a slight reproof for his late arrival.
Deeply moved our Lord gave orders that the stone laid across the entrance to the tomb be removed. Again, the sisters objected, reminding Jesus that the occasion should not be further troubled by the stench of death.
Jesus prayed, then lifting his eyes toward the hollow of the rock in which Lazarus' body had been laid - he issued a command. LAZARUS COME FORTH. At that very moment something happened greater than the reversal of the sun's course at the request of Isaiah. Death was reversed at the command of Jesus.
That eternal soul came forth from paradise to once again dwell that temporal body which had been revived to live again. Listen to the sounds of rumbling coming from inside the tomb...the moans of a man...then into the light of day as it has been written, "Th ...
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