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Weekly Devotion – John 11:17

By Mike Caton

John 11:17, On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

Jesus has waited for two days before he announced they were going back to Bethany, to where Lazarus was. When he arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. Traditionally, the Jews acted quickly to bury a body, usually it was the same day. Remember, there were no funeral homes as we think of them and in that climate, decay would set in pretty quickly.

This is setting the stage for what is to come. We know the rest of the story, that Jesus is going to call Lazarus out of the tomb. But this is not a man who is in a coma, simply unconscious. And the Jews would have been able to tell that difference; a comatose person vs. a dead one. And this is not a man who has just died. This is someone who has had no life for four days. Death has started to do its work on this body. If there ever was a hopeless case, this is it.

But Jesus specializes in hopelessness. There is nothing too difficult for Jesus to do. We simply need to have hope, to have faith, to trust the one who created not just life, but everything else in the universe. John is telling us that something big, really big is about to happen. And maybe something really big is about to happen in our lives as well, but we just need to be expecting it, looking for it, and trusting that God is always completely in control.

Father, help me stay hopeful. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works part time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.

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