Living In The Third Day

"Roll the stone aside," Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man's sister said, 'Lord, by now the smell will be terrible because he has been dead for four days.' " John 11:39...."I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me - that Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said. He was buried and He was raised from the dead on the third day." I Corinthians 15:4

 

I've a friend who remarked on the account from John 11, where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, that Jesus always "lived in the third day." The deeper meaning being that most of us, like Martha, live in the fourth day. The day when all hope is passed away. That's not our spoken belief, but it is far most often our real life statement. Jesus Christ, in the face of everything, even in His ordeal on the cross, always lived in the third day realm of everything is possible with God, and even more deeply in the realm of nothing is impossible in Him. That was His steadfast assurance and life truth. Nothing could sway Him from it, not even all the unleashed power of hell against Him. It is to this life that He calls all who are His. A life provided for us by Him. Yet too often, as did Martha, Mary, and all who were present at Lazarus' tomb, we drift into a life lived out in the bleak gray of the fourth day.

Martha and Mary loved Jesus deeply. They'd beheld His ministry of miracles and had given over their lives to Him, surrendered to His Lordship. They were fully His. Yet here, in the loss of their beloved brother, the hope they had in Him for their brothers healing was gone. They were sure it would be otherwise if He had been there, but He wasn't. Lazarus had died, and he'd now been dead for four days. Jewish law and belief said that once that number was reached, death was final. There was no return from it. That was what "the system" said, but it was not what He said. It may have been the reality for everyone else. It was not the reality for Him. Martha, Mary, and everyone else were living captive to the darkness of the fourth day. Christ lived in the Light, Life, and Power of the third day, and into that darkness He came.....and broke its power completely. It was the fourth day, and they believed there was no coming back. They saw no place for Christ coming into that.....and bringing Lazarus back out of it. Yet in the midst of everything that said, "No! It's impossible and past hope," He came in the power of His resurrection life, and brought forth......resurrection life. The power of the fourth day was broken by the One who lived always and still, in the wonder, glory and power of the Third Day.

Where are you and I living in the bondage of the fourth day? Where have we lost hope? Where have our life dreams disappeared? What ,that once held the fragrant promise of life, now carries the stink of death? Where are we chained by the dark power of the fourth day? Can we dare to believe, hope against hope, that Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Resurrection, Lord of the Third Day, can come and raise up that which we believed lost to the hopelessness of the fourth day? The fourth day will always lay a tombstone on our deep hopes in Him, and tells us we are trapped there. To it all comes He who is the Lord of the Third Day. He invited us into His Life in that day. Do we come? Do we leave the captivity of the fourth day?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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