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  • Henry Omotayo

By This Time He Stinketh

John 11:17-44

Message No. 0657 | Twitter @GodandUs |

Aside from the general love expressed by Jesus Christ to His disciples in the Bible, there’s special mention of certain people whom He loved. For instance, many scripture verses (example, John 13:23) made mention of “the disciple whom Jesus loved.’ As we already know, this disciple was identified as John the Apostle. He was not the only one specifically identified as loved by Jesus. There were, also, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus their brother. In John 11:5, the Bible says:

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

It was therefore surprising that when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick (Mary and Martha specifically sent to Jesus and said ‘the one you love is sick’) He did not rush there to heal him. In fact, He intentionally waited until he was dead before going to Bethany where the three siblings lived. You would be correct if you said this did not make sense. However, what makes sense to God does not always make sense to man. Though they did not say much, the sisters were obviously disappointed that Jesus could not spare a moment to come and heal His friend before he died; after all, Bethany was just two miles away from Jerusalem and if Jesus was there, He could have walked the distance in just 35 minutes.

One important thing we should always remember as God’s children is that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Also, our sense of time is not God’s sense of time (2 Peter 3:8). So, when Lazarus’ sisters thought Jesus came late to Bethany, to Him, the day had only just started. Indeed, John 11:15 actually says that Jesus was glad that He was not there when Lazarus died, indicating that the word ‘Late’ was not on His mind at all.

When Jesus eventually reached Bethany and Martha met Him at the entrance of the town, her first words were, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” This means that as far as Martha was concerned, the deed was done, and Jesus was just there to comfort them. It did not matter how many ways Jesus tried to explain to her that He was not late, Martha could not relate to His world, she only understood ‘dead’ and ‘end.’ Therefore, when Jesus instructed the people to remove the stone covering the tomb of Lazarus, the sister protested in John 11:39b:

Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

You may be reading this and may be saying, yes indeed, I can only relate to Martha’s world; my brain does not understand the possibility of coming back to life after having died for four days. Jesus is saying to you today, I am the resurrection and the life, and your case is not too late. I’ve heard stories of women whose wombs were removed by doctors and after prayers, they became pregnant and some of them actually gave birth to twins. When Jesus met the man at the Pool of Bethesda in John chapter 5 and asked him if he would like to be made whole, he told Jesus:

“Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

All he was saying to Jesus was, having tried the process of getting healed for 38 years, I can confidently tell you that I am a professional in this business and by this time my case stinks, there is no hope left for me. When Elisha declared to the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4:16 that she would embrace a son “about this time next year,” the Bible says the woman actually protested, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!” As far as she was concerned, by this time her case stunk. She was rich, have tried all manner of ways to get pregnant and it didn’t work so she had given up.

Do you think your case stinks? Have you spent all you have on that sickness and it’s not going away? Are you living in abject poverty though you’re serving the Lord? Are you living under the oppression of anyone and have tried to break loose but it’s impossible and you’re now considering suicide to make your point? You may think that your case stinks but as we have seen in the story of Lazarus, even the dead has hope. Please take your case to the God to whom all earthly leaders and rulers submit. Your case does not stink. Your matter is not late. The creator of time is capable of overtaking time and by the time He is finished, it would look to you as though your problem never even existed.

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 If you are yet to give your life to Christ, you do not have a covenant with God and His promises do not apply to you. To come under these promises, please surrender your life to Christ today, by praying this prayer:
 Lord I know that I am a sinner and I am unable to save myself. I am sorry for my sins and I pray that you please forgive me. I am aware that Your Son Jesus died for my sins and I accept Him as my Lord and savior. I surrender my life unto you from this moment. Please take control of my entire being and help me to be obedient to your Word, going forward. Thank you, Lord, for hearing me. I have prayed in Jesus’ name. Amen.
 If you prayed the foregoing prayer, you have just been born again. Please find a Bible believing church in your area and ask to see the pastor. Let him or her know that you have just given your life to Christ and s/he will guide you on next steps in your journey as a child of God. The Lord bless you!
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