But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” John 11:39-40(NLT)
Over two thousand years ago and before, people were required to offer animal sacrifices and sprinkle the animal blood all over the place (or so it seems to me) to cover their personal sins. They sprinkled it around the tabernacle, on the hems of garments, on their big toe and thumb and so on. You can read all about it in Leviticus chapter 9. I have understood the animal sacrifices for a long time. We needed an innocent blood sacrifice, because it is our hearts that became contaminated with sin and the heart pumps the blood – all through our system. So our blood needed cleansing, which Jesus was willing to and did provide at the appropriate time. However, we needed to understand just what He was about to do first, and thusly, the animal sacrifices that covered, but could not remove our sin. Jesus' blood is like a blood transfusion for us. When we accept Jesus' sacrifice on our personal behalf rather than simply for the world in general, He does more than simply flush out our system, He actually gives us a new uncontaminated heart.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV)We can learn a lot from the heart and blood flow.
- It carries oxygen and nutrients to your body's tissues
- It takes carbon dioxide and waste products away from the tissues.
- It is needed to sustain life and promote the health of all
the body's tissues.
There was another matter though, that I could never seemingly understand until today. Why incense?
On it Aaron shall burn fragrant incense. Morning after morning, when he prepares the lamps, and again in the evening twilight, when he lights the lamps, he shall burn incense. Throughout your generations this shall be the established incense offering before the Lord. On this altar you shall not offer up any profane incense... (Exodus 30:7-9)
Reading Martha's words to Jesus at Lazarus' tomb almost made me gasp. After all these years of wondering, my thick skull finally took it in.....Sin and the spiritual death it produces STINK!! Perhaps I have been taught this before or maybe it has been told in a sermon, but I never really HEARD it until today. It made Jesus' next words open up like never before. “Didn't I tell you that you would see God's glory if you believe?” Some will say I am making inferences here, and that's okay, but when I make a statement and someone replies to it, I assume they are speaking regarding the comment I just made. Therefore I can only assume that when Jesus spoke these words, He was letting Martha know that when God does a miracle, He NEVER does it part way. So I believe that when Lazarus came out of that grave, he did NOT stink. Why? Because I believe, as I have said over and over again, that our God is awesome at depicting what He wants us to understand and that here He wanted us to grasp that when we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord which brings life, He removes even the stench of sin from our person and we will begin emitting the fragrance of His Holy Spirit, Who comes to dwell in and with us permanently. (John 14:16) As long as we walk in His might, it is His fragrance the world will detect in our presence.
Father, sometimes we get a whiff of sin all around us and begin to wonder if it is us. We begin to feel defeated, unworthy, guilty and so much more. Sometimes it overcomes us so fiercely that we are thrown into a pit of despair, fear, anger, bitterness and even depression. Lord, help us to remember that we did indeed once smell that way. However, the moment we received Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord, You sent Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us and with us for all eternity. Jesus Himself promised that the Holy Spirit would never leave us in John 14:16. Thank You so VERY much for this assurance. Lord, when the influences of sin in this world begin to creep in around us, help us remember that You have given us a new heart that will pump the transfusion of Jesus' blood throughout our spirit man if we will continually seek nourishment from Your word and from communion with You through prayer. If we begin to feel sorry for ourselves, to doubt, to worry, etc., help us remember that You paid a humungous price in Jesus so that we would not have to do those things or believe the lies thrown at us by the evil one any longer. Thank You for Your sweet fragrance and that, just as we no longer need animal sacrifices, we no longer need physical incense. Your Holy Spirit's fragrance fills every nook and cranny of our being!! I love You!!