Finishing up my study of John 11, there have been so many things I have learned from the miraculous story of Lazarus. I think one of the most powerful lessons that buried in this chapter is the lesson of obedience. To obey seems to be on God’s favorite list. Mary and Martha took a huge step in obedience.
Right before Jesus tells Lazarus to come out of his tomb in verse 43, the pause button was pushed. I would imagine there was a moment of silence, some gasps, and most were shocked as Jesus told the sisters to “take away the stone.” Those four words made no sense! Come on …Jesus … they are girls. The only truth Martha could muster was the stench fact. It was if Jesus couldn’t hear their concerns. He just gave them a directive.
Their choice would have been to either honor his request, or walk away in disbelief. What did they have to lose? They overcame their fears and unbelief, then obeyed as they removed the stone. Jesus called Lazarus out, and out he came. Unbelievable for those watching. God’s power was on display.
The lesson learned here is that there is power in immediateobedience when received specific instructions given by God. I think a simple act of obedience can take our relationship with God to a whole new level. Our disobedience or the lack of our being out of tune with God can thwart our best efforts or interrupt of our intimacy with Him. It’s a dynamic that works every time.
There are many Biblical examples of those who obeyed God and had miraculous results:
Noah obeyed, built the ark, saved his family and after the flood repopulated the world.
Abraham obeyed offered his son as a sacrifice, God blessed him with generations as numerous as the stars in the sky.
Joseph obeyed and took Mary as his wife when his culture told him to do the opposite. He raised the savior of the world.
There are stories scattered through the pages that speak to the power that God displayed once the called obeyed. And those are just few … there are more … Joshua at Jericho, Peter, and the disciples had one life situation after another filled with opportunities to obey. In my personal life I have discovered that God’s simplest commands, when coupled with my willingness to obey have the most profound and deep results. That is where growth comes from but also my faith is strengthened, anchored in obedience. It is the foundation for larger assignments of faith later (Luke 16:10). Because I am giving him my best obedience in the now, there will be greater later.
His power is one thing I don’t want to miss. We can easily dismiss the opportunity with our excuses or unbelief. Simple obedience breeds simple trust. Don’t second-guess or delay. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that your life is too big for you to obey a simple instruction from God. God wants a yes … every time. Yes! You can!