Killing Lazarus

John 12:9-11, When the large crowd of the Jews learnt that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of Him but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

Lazarus already died once, and Jesus raised him from the dead. And now, the Jewish chief priests were so evil that they sought to kill him simply because Jews were believing in Jesus the Messiah. These chief priests could not come to terms with Jesus being the Messiah of their Torah. Evil is so perverse that it seeks to destroy life wherever it is found—after a miracle occurs and a person lives through a disease, a person awaking from a coma, Islamic terrorists attempting to subjugate Christians and Jews, the life inside the womb of a woman, and so on. We are born into a world where the Devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Even Christ was killed for evil and our sin; our sins put Him on the Cross.

Because Christ died for us, He now takes us out of the world where spirits of death, terror, and murder have their way in people. As Christians, demons cannot hurt us or possess us, but they can still oppress us and demonise us. Yet they can never snatch us out of Christ’s hands (John 10:28-30). Paul writes that in our baptism, we are buried with Christ and die to sin and are made alive to Him and shall have a resurrection like His just as we have died to sin in a baptism like His (Romans 6:1-11), and so now as baptised children of God we are joined to the same Christ who resurrected Lazarus from the dead. Not only does the resurrection of Lazarus reveal to us that Jesus can resurrect people from the dead, but it also points to the greater resurrection to come.

Satan now seeks to destroy us just as these chief priests sought to kill Lazarus, but we have no reason to be afraid. No one, not even the Devil, can snatch us out of the hands of Christ. He has no power except what is permitted by the Creator. We see this in Job. God permitted Satan to oppress Job in order to prove to Satan that Job is a man of perfect integrity. After oppressing him horribly, although he questions God several times, not once does Job renounce his faith in God, which is what Satan claimed would happen. God permitted Satan to commit certain acts against him, but Satan could never take his life because God would not allow it; and we see God’s ultimate power over Satan at the end of Job’s story when Satan no longer has power to oppress him because God would not allow it any longer, and He restored Job’s health and all he had lost twofold.

I’ve experienced several demon attacks in my life, both in dreams and when I’ve been awake. In all incidences, I won’t lie that it was frightening; I was scared for my life. However, I trusted in the Lord and invoked His name against these demons each time, praying for His deliverance and protection and demanding these demons go back from whence they came, for they have no power over me in Christ. Every single time, it works. These demons may have oppressed and demonised me for a time, but the only thing they could do was scare me and lead me to sin. Fright and sin are serious things, but Christ enabled me to overcome and they could not take my life because God does not allow them to. In sin, I could be quick to say, “Why did God allow this to happen to me? Is He really a loving, caring God for allowing this to happen?” Sure, I would rather not have experienced these demonic attacks and oppression, but do you know what they’ve taught me? Two things: First, it’s taught me to have greater faith and trust in the Lord’s preservation and safety than I ever had in the past, thus growing in my faith immensely. Second, it has shown me how utterly powerful our God is even by simply invoking the name of Christ against evil in faith, and that the enemy can only do so much against us despite how scary they appear to be. It has shown me how weak the enemy is against our God. So these demons have only served God’s purpose in strengthening my faith. Nice try, Satan.

We must remember, however, Jesus did not raise Lazarus until the proper time. He delayed for two days before going to Lazarus for the precise purpose of hiding His glory until the time was right. The first round of His glory is found in suffering and death; and at the proper time He executes judgement and restores life. Right now, the time is necessary for suffering and death. As Ecclesiastes says, there’s “a time to be born, and a time to die… a time to kill, and a time to heal…” (3:2a, 3a). When the time is right, Jesus will return, execute His judgement over sin, and resurrect all from the dead to send them to their proper places and restore eternal life to those who have believed in Him. Until then, Satan prowls around seeking for prey whom he may devour. But fear not. God gives him no power to take our lives. Satan may orchestrate our suffering and death through external means of the world and evil people, but our victory is inevitably in Christ, who shall resurrect us from the dead at the proper time and restore life in us.

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