“Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe,you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked upand said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11.40-45
The entire story is in John 11.1-45. I’ve listed only six verses here, the climax of the story. But the whole account is so good. First we have Jesus in Jerusalem, less than two miles from Bethany where Lazarus lay dying at the home of his sister Mary and Martha. And then he waits two days after receiving the news of his friends sickness and before going to him.
Two miles takes me 17 minutes to run and 35 minutes at a brisk walk. In less than an hour after hearing the news, Jesus could have been at the bedside of Lazarus, healing, helping and rejoicing in his good health. But Jesus waits. We could speculate on why he waits or we could just remember what he said to his disciples, “…it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it,” v.4. The pain of Lazarus and subsequent healing was for God’s glory and so that Jesus might be glorified through it.
Jesus arrives at the house of Mary and Martha where people are mourning — he’s greeted by both women at different times who say, “If you had come, my brother would not have died.” Jesus knows what he’s doing. He knows he’s going to raise him but he loves these people and death is painful. When he sees Mary, the compassionate woman who herself found redemption at the feet of Jesus, he does something extraordinary— he weeps. It’s not only the shortest verse in our Bibles it’s one of the most impactful. A God who weeps with those who weep is a rare thing.
There is much more in the story but ultimately Jesus ends up at the tomb, he calls out his friend Lazarus from the grave, who walks out with grave clothes on. He who is the “resurrection and the life” just brought the dead back to life. Jesus did promise “the one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die,” v.25-26.
The obvious miracle is the resurrection of Lazarus from the tomb. That is huge. Incredible. Spectacular. But the second miracle is in the words of Jesus who promises each of us resurrection when we die. That HE IS the resurrection and that by believing in him, though we will die, yet we will live.
Every funeral I’ve ever led begins with these words, “I am the resurrection and the life. Even though they die, yet they will live.” Trusting in Jesus means believing in him and believing in him leads to life everlasting. This life is not the end. The end of earthly death is the beginning of eternity with God.
It’s impossibly hard for our stubborn brains to wrap around such an awesome and incredible promise, but it is true. I believe it because I’ve seen Jesus do it in Lazarus and he can do it in me.
So what does God require? Our love, hearts and souls committed in love to him. He expects nothing less than our complete devotion to the one who not only can bring the dead back to life but he who himself was raised on the third day.
Are you trusting the Lord this day?
“O Lord God, what an incredible story. What a beautiful narrative of the life, death and resurrection of the Son and of Lazarus. Come now, Holy Spirit, affirm your power and presence in my life. Make me your person that I might follow you without fear but with courage and grace. Thank you for these words of hope in the midst of despair and earthly destruction. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen