About two thousand years ago a message was delivered to Jesus, a message of such a nature as to bring fear and sorrow to mortals, for it said, as recorded in the eleventh chapter of John's Gospel, that his good friend Lazarus, whom he loved, was sick. But Jesus said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby."

Lazarus succumbed to his sickness, and when Jesus arrived, he found that his friend had been dead for four days. The material evidence convinced everyone except Jesus that Lazarus was dead; that life had been lost; that death was real. Jesus refused to accept the belief that man could be less than perfect and immortal. He knew that good never ceases; that perfection is the fact of being; that life is eternal. To reassure Martha that his understanding of these truths was sufficient to meet the present need, he said to her, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."

Jesus then went to the grave where Lazarus' body was laid. "It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it." The Master commanded, "Take ye away the stone." The stone was then removed, and Jesus praised God, saying: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." After this expression of gratitude, which honored the power and presence of God and at the same time expressed his absolute faith and confidence, Jesus "cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth." Then Lazarus, whom all except Jesus believed to have died, came forth from the grave, bound with graveclothes. These, Jesus demanded that they remove.

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August 18, 1951

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