According to our OT passage today God does not answer the prayers of those who do not pray in His name, not even when false prophets claim to speak for Him. we are rejected because we first rejected Him, even if false preachers have seduced us. Verse 11 is a beautiful statement of the purpose of the Law-to convict and convince us of our unfaithfulness and bring us to repentance so that we may enjoy His salvation. Using four vivid pictures, Ezekiel emphasizes that righteousness (faith and life) is not transferable from one person to the next. We should not think that salvation can come from any other human source, but only from the righteousness won by Christ on the cross. The exiles' concession that God doesn't not punish without cause is is described in 22-23. Jerusalem is a vine that is good for nothing but burning, a vivid illustration of the city's fall in 587 BC. By this catastrophe, the Lord prepares the way for restoration and salvation. In Christ, the true vine, we can bear much fruit.
In our NT reading today, Jesus, the Son of God, will raise Lazarus from the dead so that He might be glorified. Death overwhelms us all. Even Christians have difficulty at times accepting God's promise to strengthen faith through adversity. At the hand of Christ, suffering serves God's gracious purpose; even death loses its sting.
Jesus assures Martha that all who believe in Him, though they die physically, will lie forever. Death is the consequence of sin and eventually takes everyone. No human being can overcome it. We can comfort one another in the hope that even in the face of death, believers in Jesus Christ possess the sure promise of their own resurrection to everlasting life.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezekiel 16-17; John 11:30-57