Glorious Stench

John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33-45:

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” When Jesus heard this he said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,  “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?” So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.


Our sense of smell is a wonderful sense that enhances so much of what we do.  Some things smell “good” to some folks and “awful” to others – e.g. the smell of a farm’s freshly-spread manure, the odor around a paper manufacturing facility, a baby’s dirty diaper (our baby’s dirty diaper versus someone else’s baby’s diaper).  When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, it must have smelled awful to most – but, I don’t think that it smelled anything less than Glorious to Martha and Mary.  Martha and Mary Believed and confessed as much directly to Jesus in the Gospels.  Jesus is always willing to do Miracles, but, like when He visited His hometown of Nazareth during His earthly Ministry, He is often looking for our Belief before “the big Show”.  Unfortunately, too many of us are way too proud to humble ourselves before God and Jesus and admit that we Believe in Them and that we need Them both.  When pride gets in the way of Faith, things start to smell “awful”; like they did in Heaven when lucifer decided to rebel with a third of the Angels in Heaven against God.  At times, life stinks, but, if we stay humbled and focused in Him, we’ll start to see at least some of the Bigger Picture that He is painting in our lives.  By so doing, we might even come to find some of the “stenches” in our lives as Glorious, too.

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