Text: “And when He (Christ Jesus) thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them (the onlookers), Loose him and let him go.”
Good morning, unshackled Christian! Having been loosed from your heavy burden of black and God-detested sins - you and I are now totally FREE! Hallelujah! What a Saviour! What Eternal grace! Thanks be to God!
“And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free…If the Son (Christ Jesus) therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:32-36)
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Like as a Father pitieth His children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:12-14)
Today’s Bible reading in John’s Gospel clearly shows Christ’s power over death. It also explains, in great detail, the method Christ used to raise the dead Lazarus from his grave. Each detail holds a vital message of Christian encouragement for you and for me. Let us look briefly at the raising of Lazarus, and gain necessary faith to help us fight in today’s Spiritual battle.
Christ’s Love: The great love that Jesus has for mere sinners is manifested clearly in verse 36 of our selected passage. Even the unbelieving Jews clearly saw Christ’s love for the dead Lazarus. Jesus loves us dearly.
“Then said the Jews, Behold (look and see) how He loved him!” (V.36)
Christ’s Miraculous Powers: Out of their own mouths these bystanders will be judged. They publicly declared, "Could not this man (Jesus), which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man (Lazarus) should not have died?" (V.37)
Such eye-witnesses of Christ’s miraculous powers are without excuse. Today, in the 21st Century, many see the evidence in your Christian life and in mine - they too are now without excuse before God’s Throne. Pray hard for them, that they might seek repentance and, by God’s free grace, be loosed from the grave-clothes of their sins. There is miraculous power in Christian prayer.
The Grave of Lazarus: I personally believe that the grave in which Lazarus lay was, in fact, a hole in the ground, rather than a hole in a rock face.
“Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.” (V.38)
Definition: A cave - ‘(noun) a hollow in a rock, a cliff, or underground…’ (Chambers Dictionary p. 260)
The fact that ‘…a stone lay upon it…’ differentiates the type of Lazarus’ grave from the tomb of the Crucified Christ Jesus - the latter of which had a large stone which rolled across the mouth of the tomb to seal it shut.
Mankind’s Responsibilities: (Vs. 39; 41) Human responsibility is denoted in these two verses, as Jesus instructs the onlookers to "Take ye away the stone.’ ‘Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid…" The Lord God allows us, His servants, to have a part in His great work. Jesus made the way of Salvation, it is our responsibility to seek it.
Seeing Was Believing: In Old Testament days seeing was believing. Today, we Christians believe and then see God’s hand at work in response to our faith in Him. “(For we walk by faith, not by sight.)" (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Imparting of Faith: The entire exercise of Lazarus’ death was that Christ might glorify our Father in Heaven by raising him from again from the dead - thus proving beyond all doubt that He was indeed the promised Messiah; and imparting vital faith to all those that publicly witnessed the miracle.
“And I knew that Thou (God the Father) hearest Me always; but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” (V. 42)
Christ Raised Lazarus: Christ Jesus’ Supernatural power raised Lazarus up out of that hole-in-the-ground grave. Lazarus could not use natural power to walk out of a cave; after all, he was in fact ‘…bound hand and foot with grave clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin…’ (V.44)
I believe Lazarus came right up out of the ground under Christ’s power, before the Lord Jesus said, "…Loose him, and let him go." (V.44)
Thought: Only Christ can loosen the grave clothes of our vile sin. Will we let Him?