If Jesus can raise the dead, just think of what He can do for us who are alive no matter how far away we’ve walked from Him.

Just as the Mount St. Helens volcano created a canyon 1/40th the size of the Grand Canyon, the resurrection of Lazarus was a microcosm of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was giving us a clue of what He was about to do.

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 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 up and 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 11:38-44

Once more, Jesus was angry at the effect that sin had wreaked on humanity. His next words were no doubt spoken with conviction, “Take away the stone.” The protestation of Martha gives confirmation that Lazarus was, indeed, considered dead. Four days is a long time; putrefaction would have set in. Jesus was not to be deterred. He reminded Martha of her faith and His promise that Lazarus would rise again (v. 23).

They (the disciples?) took away the stone, and then Jesus prayed a very interesting prayer:

  1. He thanks His Father for hearing Him.
  2. He points out that His Father always hears Him.
  3. The benefit of Him praying out loud was for those listening.
  4. He did it so that they would believe that God sent Him.

With that, Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” We’ve always joked that if He hadn’t called Lazarus by name that everyone buried in that cave would have come forth! John called him, “the dead man,” which was another confirmation of the fact that Lazarus was dead. In the same way that Lazarus came alive again at the call of Jesus, we have come alive when we heard His call and received Him as Lord of our lives. What He did for Lazarus He will do for everyone who answers His call.

Lazarus was still wrapped in his grave clothes from head to toe. Jesus’ command for them to “take off the grave clothes and let him go” can be interpreted literally, but also symbolically in that we, too, must take off our grave clothes (attitudes, habits, etc.) in order to be free to follow Christ. Also, sometimes we need help taking them off. That’s what Christian brothers and sisters are for. Instead of being repulsed by those who are still in their grave clothes, let’s help each other be free in Christ as we come alongside each other and encourage each other to trust Him in all things.

Abba, thank You for giving me life, and for the people You have used in my life to help me take off my grave clothes. I need Your gold, Your white clothes to wear, and Your salve on my eyes so that I can see (Revelation 3:18). I need Your living water (John 4:13-14) and Your bread (John 6:58). I need Your LIFE (John 11:25)! I know You are offering it to me; I just need to trust You and take it daily. Give me faith, O Lord, to trust You more. Amen.

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