The Message (MSG)
41-42 Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”
They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”
The sequence of events in this passage seems strange and unusual. Lazarus was still in his tomb, yet Jesus’ thanksgiving preceded the miracle of raising him from the dead. It seems that thanks would only have been lifted up once the great miracle had been accomplished and Lazarus had been restored to life. But Jesus gave thanks for what He was about to receive. His gratitude sprang forth before the blessing had arrived, in an expression of assurance that it was certainly on its way.
The song of victory was sung before the battle had been fought. It was the Sower singing the song of harvest-it was thanksgiving before the miracle! Who ever thinks of announcing a victory song as the army is just heading out to the battlefield? And where do we ever hear a song of gratitude and thanksgiving for an answer that has not yet been received?
Yet in this Scripture passage, there is nothing strange, forced or unreasonable to the master’s sequence of praise before the miracle. Praise is actually the most vital preparation to the working of miracles. Miracles are performed through spiritual power, and our spiritual power is always in proportion to our faith. Praise has changed a lot of circumstances in my life. Nothing pleases God more than praise as part of our prayer life, and nothing blesses someone who prays as much as the praise that is offered. I once received a great blessing from this while in China. I had recently received bad news from home, and deep shadows of darkness seemed to cover my soul. I prayed but the darkness remained. I forced myself to endure but the shadows only deepened. Then suddenly one day, as I entered a missionary’s home at an inland station, I saw these words on the wall: “Try giving thanks.” Si I did, and in a moment every shadow was gone, never to return. Yes, the psalmist was right: “It is good to praise the Lord”(Ps. 92:1).
Morning Star, Elohim, Immanuel, El Rio, Wonderful, I praise your name because you are the precious lamb of God, my deliverer and strong tower. I thank you for the breakthrough of depression and fear. I thank you for the rising of my body after the deposit of another 1,440 minutes of life that was not promised. I thank you for the abiding presence of Your Spirit upon my life. I thank You for the promises contained in your word and that even though trouble may assail me I have the victory in “You.”
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