43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
This obviously does many things for many people. Every purpose that Jesus said this incident would bring about is fulfilled (see Monday’s devotion on John 11:11-14). Everybody tries to recall what He said before, marvels at the amazing new “high” in miracles Jesus has done, may conclude He must be God and/or the Son of God like He says He is, or at minimum He must be the resurrection and the life like He just said to Martha.
Think what it does for Lazarus though. Prior to his death he was probably too sick to hear or care whatever Jesus’ purpose was for his illness (Monday’s devotion) and he definitely missed the “I am the resurrection and the life” moment (Wednesday’s devotion). All he knows he was very ill, died and is now walking out of the tomb alive. And He knows he has not arrived at heaven because he is looking at everybody he left behind on earth when he died.
This is Lazarus’ second chance at life. What is he going to now? Maybe something along the lines of shedding his burial wrappings, have a luxurious bath, hold a feast to celebrate, hang out a lot with the people he loved, hear from them everything that happened while he was dead, testify to Jesus’ amazing miracle in his life, death and life again.
And then what? How will he live the rest of his life? The Bible does not give details what Lazarus really did. But it is a known fact that when people are at their deathbeds, they look back at their life and rejoice for all the meaningful things they have done, and regret the fruitless endeavors they have committed too much of themselves too. Lazarus probably did the same too. And now that he is alive again, he has a choice and a life ahead to do more of the right things, fix the wrongs he did, and stop committing to pointless ventures.
Do we see what has happened to Lazarus has happened to us followers of Christ? We were dead and oblivious to Christ, buried in our sin but Jesus made us spiritually alive the moment we accepted Him as our Savior. We too have been resurrected in a spiritual sense and there is nothing short of amazing in that! But perhaps because our salvation moment happened in a second and nothing physically around us changed, we may not have had the “spiritual deathbed” experience. We have yet to go through the process of looking back at our old lives and saying, “Those things were worthwhile, these things I would repair if I could, and I really should have stopped wasting my time on those things earlier.” So our lives are not changed, because the way we look at our life activities has not changed, and we carry on as we were before we were saved.
But it is never too late. You are saved – praise God – and you have the opportunity any time, at any frequency, for any duration, to get on your “spiritual deathbed” and off again into life. Because while we are alive, we deal with our sinful nature everyday and we have tons of choices to make on how we will spend our energy, resources and life. There is no book written that has already laid out what you will be doing with your life, because God has given you the second chance at life and the right to daily choose. What will you do?
Thoughts for the day
- Praise God for your second chance at life! Praise God that He gives you the daily choice on how you live your life!
- Look at the past week of your life. What things were worthwhile? What things would you make effort to repair? What was a waste of your time?
- Look at what were the things that took significant (however your define it) heart, time, resources and effort over your past year. What things were worthwhile? What things would you make effort to repair? What was a waste of your time?
- What kind of “spiritual deathbed” habit/frequency do you want to develop? How will you remind yourself it is time to get on your “spiritual deathbed”?
Dear God and heavenly father, thank you for giving me a second chance at life. Help me see what things are of eternal value and worthwhile endeavors, what things I need to improve, and what I need to cut. Help me as I battle the distractions of my daily life to fight for the focus on the right and good things, and then help me to do it. Amen.