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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"This Stinks!"

March 17, 2004

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Today's Reading: John 11:1-44 & Psalm 116

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” John 11:39

I prefer the King James Version, which gets more quickly to the point: “Lord…he stinketh!” Of course, she spoke of the physical condition of Lazarus’ body—decomposition and deterioration had already begun.

This phrase can also make reference to our spiritual condition. Natural man—man without faith in Jesus Christ—is spiritually an enemy of God and spiritually dead, with an odor infinitely more nauseating than decaying flesh. Without Christ, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Without Christ, we stinketh!

The apostle Paul cried out, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). He spoke as a Christian still on this side of the grave. We are in the very same place; people of God, yes … but surrounded by the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. We stinketh!

On the way to Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25-26). To Lazarus and about Lazarus—to us and about us—Jesus says, “Trust Me in this life, through this life, through death, and into life everlasting.”

We confess … we stinketh. But Jesus Christ has given us His sign—the cross and the open tomb. Christ has taken care of our sins. Christ has given us His Word—He will be with us, even as we walk through death and into life everlasting.

Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, who became flesh and dwelled among us, turn our hearts to sincere repentance so we may wear the robes of Your righteousness and stand before You in Your kingdom, where You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen.

Response
To whom can you offer Jesus’ words of eternal life?

Today's Bible Readings: Numbers 17-19    Mark 15:1-25

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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