Now Jesus had spoken of His death, but they thought that He meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." John 11:13-15
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Many times we ask ourselves what resurrection means to us and how can we share this great good news with our brothers and sisters who may not understand what God has done to save us.
You see, some people may take the Bible's resurrection accounts as being hard things to understand. For them anything beyond their mind's grasp is difficult to believe. Once, Thomas made a strong argument, which said unless he could see the Lord from his own eyes and touched His wounds, he would not believe in the resurrection. (See John 20:24-31.)
Thomas is not alone. Sometimes, even Christians may think like Thomas when they take the resurrection of the Lord lightly or when they are influenced by the world, which maintains it is impossible to prove the resurrection.
In the story we take to study today, Lazarus, who was a close friend of Jesus, was sick. He was sick even to his death. Did the Lord show His compassion once He got this news of Lazarus' illness? A few days ago, when I received the bad news that my younger brother had passed away from blood cancer, I was deeply saddened, and I longed to see him one last time. Did Jesus feel and act that way?
Similarly, does Jesus feel that way about us? After all, our time is coming, and there is nothing we can do to stop it.
It is precisely when death is near, or has come for someone near us, that we need to hear what Jesus said about death. He said, and He meant, that death is just a sleep, which we have.
But Jesus said more. He maintained death is a sleep from which He can raise us.
You know, there was a time when we were dead in our sin. That is no longer true. We no longer are condemned to eternal death. Because of Holy Spirit-given faith, we who were dead are made alive in Him, who raises us from the dead by the power of His sacrifice and the redemption price Jesus paid on the cross, and through His life.
By God's grace, we are saved. That is something we can believe because our beloved Lord always is true and faithful to us. Equally true is His promise that He will raise us on the last day. (See John 6:53-58.)
By faith we know God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to come and save us from our sin. He died on the cross so that our sins would be paid for. Now, by His grace, we forgiven sinners strive to live our lives according to His will.
The power of resurrection has now become the power of hope in our lives. We are no longer living in the fear of death. Because the Lord lives, we can now face tomorrow with the peace which says, because of the risen Lord, we, too, shall rise!
THE PRAYER: Father, we give thanks for the living Word, which has been given to us. May Your Spirit always be with us and lead us to live in the hope of the resurrection. Grant that we no longer live in fear. Instead, keep us trusting You and Your Word. Please grant that those who are lost today may learn to trust in Jesus and the resurrection He gives. This I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Rev. Vannarith Chhim, who is married to Dalis, a Christian education consultant. They have two daughters, Jessica (7) and Ruth (4). Pastor Chhim lives in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. There he serves as president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia (ELCC), as a national co-coordinator of Lutheran Heritage Foundation, as Theological Training coordinator of Luther's Institute of SE-Asia (LISA), as the director of the Cambodia Lutheran Association, and as the speaker on the Law and Gospel program: The Answer to Life, which is sponsored by Lutheran Hour Ministries-Cambodia. In this country of nearly 15 million people, LHM-Cambodia, known in-country as Cambodia Christian Media Center, uses both Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) and Equipping the Saints (ETS) to share the Good News of Jesus and educate Cambodians on Christian teachings. Similarly, musical events, films, the Internet, and text messaging are all employed to engage young people with a message of hope. This center also provides clothing and other material supplies to school-age children. For more on what's going on in Cambodia, check out its blog at lhmcambodia.wordpress.com.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries