Jesus raises a stink…

The pastor where I attended church on this Easter Sunday took his text from the gospel of John chapter eleven. If you are unfamiliar with this passage, it is where Jesus raises His friend Lazarus from the dead. It was an encouraging message and appropriate for the day, but as the pastor was reading the familiar text, it struck me that one of the sisters of the deceased, Martha, was concerned when Jesus gave the command to remove the stone from where Lazarus that the stench would be uncomfortable at the least. Perhaps she misjudged the intentions of Jesus, having witnessed His deep lament at the death of His friend and now Martha was put in the unenviable position of attempting to correct Jesus. Martha was concerned that Jesus was going to raise a stink.

What she failed to realize is that the Jesus of the Newer Testament is well versed in raising stinks. He was often unsettling the religious leaders of His day to the point that they conspired to murder Him. The life, deeds, and words of Jesus still unsettle people today, and it occurred to me that if Jesus did this perhaps we as His followers should be raising stinks also.

What is it that is holding you back from speaking up and speaking out about what you see that troubles you? Jesus risked the stink to regain His loved one, shouldn’t we be willing to do the same?

Jesus wasn’t interested in protecting the interest of the powerful as much as He was interested in the needs of the powerless. If we are to claim to be followers of Jesus then we should be quick to side with those He came to heal, forgive, and include. Likewise, we must be willing to challenge those He was quick to confront for their hypocrisy and propensities to protect their power structures. Jesus overturned tables not once, but twice. He was dangerous enough to change the world. What if we were more like Jesus?

“Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” -John 11:38-44

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