Have you ever passed by something dead? You know you have by what? Yes, the smell! Sometimes you can’t even see it, but the smell takes your breath away. I was jogging by a fence with a pond on the other side of it when this powerful rotten smell nearly choked me – which is not good when you’re already out of breath! Death stinks.
Can that dead thing bring itself back to life? What if it tried really hard? Nope. It can’t try really hard. It’s dead. No matter what it wants to do or how good it looked before it was eaten, it’s dead. At this point, there’s no life left to make itself come alive again. It makes me think of the story of Lazarus in John 11. Please read the story for yourself for there are many fascinating truths hidden there. Paraphrasing, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Verse 39 tells us, Martha, one of his sisters protested when Jesus asked the stone to be removed. She said, “By this time there is a bad odor.” Jesus insisted, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Then Jesus calls Lazarus, the DEAD man, out. Guess what. He emerged, grave clothes draped over his hands, feet and face. Jesus then said, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Wow! What does that story say to you? To me it says, (I know you were wondering!) Jesus walks up to me when I smell like death and offers me life in exchange. He says, “Are you ready to believe and see the glory of God, Julie? If you are, I’m ready to take off your grave clothes and give you robes of righteousness in its place. I want to remove your stench and make you an aroma pleasing to the Father. Are you ready?”
The bad news is without Jesus we smell like death. Ephesians 2:1“…We were dead in our transgressions and sins…” The good news is, unlike that dead animal on the other side of the fence, Jesus came to raise the dead, just like He did with Lazarus. Because He himself conquered death through the Resurrection, He alone has the power to give life to those who are dying. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
So the question becomes, DO YOU BELIEVE THIS? Jesus asked the same question in our story of Lazarus above. He said in chapter 11 verses 25-26, “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. Do you believe this?”