Morning Messages

THE FOURTH DAY

“A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” But when Jesus heard about it He said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, He stayed where He was for the next two days. Finally, He said to His disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” But His disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?” Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” Then He said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died. So He told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.” When Jesus arrived at Bethany, He was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days.” John‬ ‭11:1-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Have you ever had to wait for something that should’ve arrived on a certain date but didn’t? Or have you ever received a call from your doctor that something was wrong but you still had to wait days for the results? How did you react? Did you have a mixture of fear and faith? You tried hard to be brave while you waited but at times it seemed overwhelming? I’ve been there and I’m sure most of you have as well.

Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was ill. Yet Jesus delayed going for two extra days after he received the message. And it seems from the text that He didn’t let on just how bad the situation was with His disciples until the day He decided to go. Then He didn’t even tell them Lazarus was dead, but that he was asleep. Thinking this wasn’t an emergency situation, the disciples were just as nonchalant and became more concerned about Jesus’ safety, so He had to drop the bombshell. Lazarus is dead! Following up with a even more puzzling statement, “ but it is a good thing I wasn’t there.” huh!?? “Yup, Lazarus is dead for your sakes.” Huh!??Yup! You all need a lesson in believing.

Poor Thomas, not knowing what to make of all this, resorts back to their original concern-‘We’re as dead as Lazarus if we go back to Bethany, so let’s get on with it.’ Lol they haven’t caught sight of Jesus’ bigger picture. Everything is an object lesson with Jesus. This is why parables were one of His methods of choice for teaching the people. They could all find themselves in His stories. For the disciples it was good that Jesus wasn’t there. He’s always raised the dead, but it was most often after a few hours, since Jewish tradition didn’t allow for the dead to be kept for days. So four days is a record for resurrection. By now his body had started decomposing.  (Verse39) Perfect set up for a perfect miracle, on the fourth day.

Are you in your fourth day? Does the situation look impossible? Have you been waiting for Jesus to show up in your situation and it seems like the deadline for a miracle has passed? Don’t give up yet. It is a good thing He hadn’t showed up on days one and two, even three. Because then, you wouldn’t believe that He is capable of much more than healing your occasional migraine, or providing a few dollars. No this situation called for a fourth day miracle. Martha and Mary had to wait, and even though they accused Him of being too late, as it turned out, He was right on time.

Have you discovered that too? That the fourth day was the best day? Everyone present for the fourth day miracle was blown away. The exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ask or think God showed up and that which was dead and stinking, lived. Jesus’ claim of being the resurrection and life was evident that day. I said at the onset that I experienced the agonizing process of having to wait for a result. And I was given the opportunity to share my faith because of it. I didn’t die obviously, but I waited ten days to see the specialist for reevaluation. I asked the Lord to let me hear these words. “ what we saw ten days ago we do not see today.” And those were his (the specialist) exact words. Jesus said the fourth day would be a day to believe, and indeed it was.

“Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.” John‬ ‭11:45‬ ‭NLT‬‬

My tenth day miracle helped bolster my faith. As did Lazarus, Martha, Mary, the disciples and the many spectators who became believers through waiting, Our waiting is not intended to bring defeat but victory. God’s delay is never denial, it’s what we’re doing on the days leading up to our breakthrough that matters the most. I prayed, I cried but I didn’t complain. It was frustrating at times, but I never lost my hope. I had to fight off doubt. But I never lost my faith in Jesus. I wanted the opportunity to share my faith and I did. 

I did admonish them for letting me wait that long for what they deemed was “suspicious.” But in the end the Lord was magnified. Just as He was at Lazarus’ tomb. Waiting bolsters our faith. The enemy wants us doubting but dust yourself off, wash your face and declare like I did at the top of your lungs. “ I will live! And not die! To declare the mighty works of my God! Psalm 118:17 🙏

Written by permission of the Holy Spirit 

W. Tennant 

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