John 12:9-11, “9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; 11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus”
A pastor saw a young lady in his church after a summer time of her being away. Upon coming back from her vacation, the pastor noticed that her stomach was quite large. He thought that her and her husband were obviously going to have a baby and therefore said, “You’re starting to show.” However she replied, “I’m not pregnant”. Needless to say the woman was very offended, in which time that the Pastor said, “I’m sorry, I’ll perhaps need you to forgive me seventy times seven for that one insensitive comment.”
Have you ever offended someone, either purposefully or accidentally? Perhaps you have a humorous story as well. However, have you ever offended someone, because you were living for Christ? When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, not everyone was happy about this public miracle. Jesus was in Bethany, with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and “9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; 11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.”
Now that Lazarus is a walking miracle, raised to newness of life, his very life was offensive to many, and they wanted to kill not only Christ, but Lazarus as well. If Christ has raised your life from being dead in your sins and transgressions when you repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ, then should your life not offend? How many get offended as you speak and live for Christ? There should be those that absolutely despise you for the cause of Christ. You were just like Lazarus, dead in your sins and trespasses, and also broke God’s Moral Law (The Ten Commandments). Christ called you by name, “come forth” and at which time you repented and put your trust in Christ. Others took the grave clothes off you by discipling you in the faith that you might walk closer to Him, and become more like Jesus. Lazarus represented Christ, and therefore his life was on the line, he was despised, he was hated, his enemies called for his blood. It is kind of humorous, as Ravi Zaccharias said, “what are the Jews going to threaten Lazarus with, death? How can someone like Lazarus actually be threatened by death, he already has been there and done that?”
Christian, if you are truly living your life for Christ, then where are your accusers, where are those that hate you and want you dead because your life is so offensive and repugnant to those in the world? We don’t desire to offend others with the gospel, that is not our goal, nor should it be, however, the gospel is offensive. Paul wrote, “18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1Corinthians 1:18-24.
Ray Comfort writes “The undertaker’s nightmare”. The Son of God created havoc for undertakers by speaking to their frigid merchandise. His voice was supernatural. A mere “Lazarus, come forth,” spoken to a corpse meant a nightmarish dilemma for the Bethany funeral director, because he was left with no body to deal with. Up until that moment, his business was mortally secure. Four days after the death, he had everything wrapped up, when suddenly, three words unraveled his inanimate toil. Reimbursement of all funeral expenses was just the beginning of the bad dream. Death was his living, and if this stranger from Nazareth continued to speak around graves, his business itself would soon be terminal. Jesus Christ was the undertaker’s nightmare because death bowed its vile knee to His voice, and the day is promised when all undertakers will hit the unemployment line! The raising of Lazarus snatched the profit from the undertaker; but the incident happened for the inestimable profit of humanity. It was the long-awaited fulfillment of what was spoken of by the prophets of old. It was a beam of wondrous and glistening light in the most hopeless and darkest of all caves.”
Perhaps if you never offend anyone, perhaps you should check to see if you are walking with Christ. Share your faith with three people a day, and at the end of the week, see how many were receptive and how many were offended. Speak boldly and with compassion, for the lost need to hear the truth about Jesus from one he has raised from being dead in their sins, therefore you make a good candidate. Until the nets are filled…Blessings, Pastor Phil <><