Thursday, February 7, 2013

Death is not normal, it is our enemy!

In the Apostle John's account (chapter 11) of the death of Lazarus we find the shortest verse in the Bible "Jesus wept" (v.35). On two accounts it is recorded that "he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled" (v.33), and "Jesus, once more deeply moved" (v.38).

Let me provide some different translations for vv. 33, 38----

New Living Translation (©2007) "...a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled (33).

The Message "...a deep anger welled up within him" (33).

New Living Translation (©2007) "Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb..." (38).

The Message "Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb..." (38).

Here is the Greek definition for the word translated (groaning) found in most of our translations:

embrimaomai: to be moved with anger, to admonish sternly
Original Word: ἐμβριμάομαι
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: embrimaomai
Phonetic Spelling: (em-brim-ah'-om-ahee)
Short Definition: I snort, express indignant displeasure
Definition: I snort (with the notion of coercion springing out of displeasure, anger, indignation, antagonism), express indignant displeasure with some one; I charge sternly.

All of that for this: What was Jesus so angry about? What was he so displeased with? What was he so snorting mad at?

It was DEATH; the last enemy that he would destroy, did you catch that, the last enemy, the last enemy. Jesus was angry at death and the devil, who is the author of all death, (for he was a murderer from the beginning).

Think of it this way, the death of Lazarus stood for the death of the entire human race, how contrary to God's original design for the world and His creation. God's world was supposed to flourish in peace and wholeness. Then sin, death, and the devil came and destroyed all that was good and perfect. God in His great love and mercy sent His Son to redeem and bring reconciliation to a world that had become dark and disjointed.

I can remember when at my fathers bed side at the hospital when he was dying how I felt a horrible anger, I can remember telling my wife that, "this is not the way it is supposed to be," I didn't buy into that old worn out cliché that said, "death is the circle of life garbage, I knew that death was an enemy, yes, an enemy to every human and to God himself.

When I saw death I knew that I was looking at something that was abnormal, something that was out of place, and something needed to be fixed. Death is ugly, death is dark, and shows no mercy, and remember what causes death? It is something that is just as offensive, it is sin.

I believe that on that day, when Jesus came late to his friend’s aid, it was a purposeful delay. Jesus meant to show the world that he came to reclaim that which was lost through the fall. Jesus' raising Lazarus from the grave foreshadowed His own resurrection from the dead, for Lazarus would die again, but not our Lord, He now lives forever to grant His resurrection power to all who are united to Him by faith.

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