Lessons Of A Lifetime

The Death Of A Dear Friend
The Fearlessness Of A True Friend
Sunday Feb. 13, 2022

Scripture To Consider:
“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Jesus, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.’ When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but 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 sick, He stayed two more days in the place where he was.”

“Then after this Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to Him, ‘Rabbi, lately the Jews [the Jewish leaders] sought to stone You, and You are going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he [or she] does not stumble, because he [or she] sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he [or she] stumbles, because the light is not in him [or her].’

“These things Jesus said, and after that He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.’ Then His disciples said, ‘Lord, if he sleeps he will get well. However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless, let us go to him.’ Then Thomas, who is called the twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with Him.’”    John 11.1-16

Something To Consider:
John gives us a glimpse into the private life of Jesus. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were all dear friends of Jesus. Their home in Bethany, which was just outside of Jerusalem, had become a safe haven for Jesus and His disciples.

Mary and Martha have been introduced to us on an earlier occasion. Now it is Lazarus’ turn, a dear friend of Jesus, to be portrayed as an object lesson of a lifetime in the classroom of the Holy Spirit. As students in that lifelong learning, let us journey in our minds with Jesus to the home of this beloved by Jesus family.

Death is not something that is the subject of many conversations as we pass through life. Foolishly, death and speaking of death, is something we attempt to put off as long as we possibly can. And yet, none of us are in any small way in control of the timing or of the circumstances concerning our own death!

The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 39.4; “LORD, make me to know my end [my death], and what is the measure of my days. That I may know how frail [weak] I am.” We also read in Psalm 116.15; “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” Therefore, to Jesus, the death of this dear friend, Lazarus, and friend of God, was precious in His sight!

Something Else To Consider:
It is time to see the fearlessness of a true friend in action and not in word only. For both Jesus and Thomas showed forth real life evidence of their truest and brightest of friendship colors, by their fearlessness in the face of possible impending death at the hands of evil and envious religious leaders.

King Solomon writing in Proverbs 17.17 announced, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Jesus and Thomas proved to be true friends of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, by both their words and actions. Who is it that we can be  a true friend to today? Let us not foolishly miss the royal and yet earthly opportunity.

Friendship in this life is extremely important. And yet, true friendship is also sometimes extremely rare. Without true friendship loneliness begins to cloud our judgment and unwisely misdirects our thought process. Jesus proclaimed in John 15.13-14; “Greater love has no one [not a man, woman, or young person] than this, then to lay down one’s life for his [or her] friends.”

And in the next verse Jesus explained; “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” Are we this February 13, 2022, the day before Valentine’s Day, are we doing whatever Jesus has commanded in the Word of God? Or are we more like the masses, satisfied giving lip service to true biblical Christianity? Would we be seen by Jesus today, truly possessing the fearlessness of a true friend such as Thomas?

Without becoming and remaining a true friend of Jesus, how will we ever expect to endure to the end of our lives or to the end of this age? Without becoming and remaining a true friend to our family and those associated with our lives, how can we ever be of help to them in their enduring to the end of whatever lies ahead of us as we approach these fast-approaching end times?

Something More To Consider:
Solomon proclaimed in Proverbs 18.24, “A man [woman or young person] who has friends must himself [or herself] be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” I firmly believe Solomon was speaking prophetically about Jesus. I also believe it is a lesson to be learned by us to follow in Thomas’ footsteps when a dear friend is in need. And to learn that lesson of a lifetime, let us look no further than to Jesus.

Jesus never fails to come to our rescue. We should go and do likewise in order to exemplify the true fearlessness of a true friend. Jesus, in communicating to the early church in Smyrna, and to every true church in every generation, instructed; “Be faithful unto death [thereby enduring to the end], and I will give you the crown of life.”

A Few Final Words:
And is not the receiving of the crown of life what we are attempting to achieve as true 21st century followers of Jesus Christ? Is not the gaining of the crown of life our ultimate end goal? And if it is not, then who do we think we are fooling other than ourselves? Eternal life must be our final expectation! And if not, why not?

And as we endeavor to endure to the end of our lives or to the end of these end times in order that we be saved and experience eternal life, as according to Jesus; let us prove to show forth the fearlessness of a true friend. The fearlessness of a true friend is a precious personal possession. Therefore, cherish each and every dear friend as a diamond, even if they are a diamond in the rough!

For according to the record of our Scripture to consider, “Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with Him [with Jesus].’”

Our Father in heaven, may we learn the lesson of a lifetime of the fearlessness of a true friend. May You help us to make the proper decisions concerning the questions of our enduring to the end. Teach us to be friendly today and to be willing to be made more into the image of Jesus this day. In Him Always, Amen!

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