John 11:38-44: Lazarus, Come Out!
November 16, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Ezekiel 40-41, Job 15:1-16, John 11:38-44, 1 John 4:1-6
The emotion that Jesus feels at death is not yet ended. He is “deeply moved” again. Mourning comes in waves—sometimes wave after wave after wave. Even the strongest Christian can be hit by such “deep emotions,” for even Jesus experienced them. Take comfort, you who mourn: Jesus knows what it is to feel what you feel and can help you in your time of need. Ask him for help now.
Jesus gives practical instruction: take away the stone. But practical only if taking into account his miraculous power to raise the dead. And so Martha intervenes, uber-practical as ever: “Lord, by now there will be a stench.” This Lazarus had not just deceased, was not only apparently dead, but had been dead four days. There was no doubt that he was dead, and indeed beginning to rot.
Jesus simply replies to remind her that he had said that if she believes she would see the glory of God. All that is required for us to see God’s glory in all eternity is to trust in Christ. One who has so trusted Christ will want to please Christ, but the price of entrance is already paid by Jesus himself, and all we need to do is receive that gift through faith. Have you done that? Have you trusted Christ so that you might see God’s glory?
Then Jesus cries out in a loud voice: “Lazarus, come out.” Few can equal Spurgeon’s priceless comment on this moment: Jesus called Lazarus by name, for otherwise every other dead body would have risen from the dead at his word! Such is the power of Christ that by a simple word Lazarus comes back to life.
All that it takes for us to rise again from the dead is for Jesus to speak the word! Such is the power of God’s word. Let us then use that word in our personal Bible reading, in our ministry to other people, in our witness: God’s word, Christ’s word has the power to raise the dead!
And then, once again, practical: unbind him and let him go. No ministry can escape the requirement of practical utility, however spiritual that ministry may be. The more spiritual, rightly understood, the more practical. Sometimes the right advice to a person who has just repented of their sins is to go home, get some rest, and eat some food. A good spiritual doctor gives not only profound truth, but also accessible steps to ascend to that truth. “Lazarus, come out!”
Would you praise God this morning that the resurrection of Christ means that at his word we too who trust in Christ will rise from the dead!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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