Sweden – Linda Johnson

There is some dispute about how long Jesus’ ministry was here on earth.  For most though, three years is the accepted length of time.  Some say that the actual ministry was only fifteen months. Whichever it is, it is an astounding ministry that reached many.  And because of this, the order of things at the time was severely threatened.

Jesus was mostly known for his miracles especially among the regular folk. Because of this, he had a following that both annoyed and incensed the ruling religious body.  The Sadducees and the Pharisees had been somewhat successful at discrediting the miracles. They said Jesus was a mystic who dealt in some sort of occult practices and that he was a devil.  Then Jesus does the unthinkable–he raises Lazarus from the dead.

The account is given in John 11 and 12. This is the second of two Lazarus’ mentioned in the Bible.  The first was the Lazarus who was the beggar. He dies and is later seen by the rich man on the bosom of Abraham. It’s in Luke 16:19-31.  The second Lazarus is the brother of Martha and Mary. This is the same Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42. Jesus had stopped there for an evening meal.  From there he goes on to Jerusalem to the Jewish festivals and teaches in the temple.

All the while, the Sanhedrin are plotting how they might rid themselves of Jesus. While Jesus is in the Jordan Valley, he receives word from Martha that Lazarus is sick and possibly dying.  Could he come? Jesus does go but by the time he gets there, Lazarus has been dead for four days.  

In Martha’s mind it is too late to do anything for her brother.  However, Jesus had the stone rolled away and cried for Lazarus to come forth–and he did. The proof of it is in John 12:2 which names him as sitting at the table with Jesus.  Now this miracle is the one that capped it for the chief priests and Pharisees.  It was after this that there was no let up until Jesus was arrested, tried and crucified.

Why was this miracle so significant?  Why was it the one that tipped the Pharisees and chief priests over the edge?  There is no record of anything that Lazarus ever said.  The only thing that is known about him is that he was the brother of Martha and Mary. It’s because Lazarus was a walking testimony of what Jesus could do. His very presence was proof of the existence of God.  And the Pharisees would not condone someone from Nazareth professing that he was the Son of God.

It’s a good lesson for believers who are walking testimonies also.  It’s not so much what is said, but how one behaves that reflects the true testimony of all of us.  

You can visit us at our website swedenchurch.com.  It is complete with audios of   the sermons.  Better yet, come and hear Pastor Josh live on Sunday mornings.  Service begins at 11 a.m. (Sunday school is at 10 a.m.) and evening service begins at 6 p.m.  Bible study is Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. except for our business meeting which is held the second Wednesday of each month.  Sweden Church is east of Ava about 10 miles on Highway 14 and then left onto 14-219 a quarter-mile.