Calling Lazarus – and Us

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 in Articles | 0 comments

His friend was dying.  Messengers had arrived from Bethany with the news, “Come quickly, Jesus.  Lazarus is sick.”


He waited.  Two days.  By the time Jesus returned to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead four days. 


Do you ever wonder if the human part of Jesus struggled with the God part of Jesus?  Yes, Jesus was fully-God and fully-man.  He knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead.  He knew that God would be glorified.  The man-Jesus may well have desired to flee immediately to Bethany, to save his friend from the suffering that surely preceded his death, to save Mary and Martha the pain they experienced as they watched their brother, Lazarus, die.  Despite that knowledge, he chose to wait, knowing it would bring God glory.


Four days in the grave.  Lazarus had been wrapped in burial cloths, anointed with spices, and placed in a tomb; a great stone had been rolled over the opening.  His sisters mourned; his friends wondered at Jesus not being there to heal Lazarus.  “Surely this man who made the blind to see could have saved this man he loved so much.”  Four days in the grave before Jesus arrived.


The apostles didn’t completely understand.  They questioned Jesus decision, after waiting two days, to journey to Bethany.  Bethany was within two miles of Jerusalem.  The Jews were seeking to destroy Jesus.  His return would put him in danger.  Why would he place himself in that danger, especially after waiting?  Yet, He returned to Bethany.  He chose to do what would bring God glory.


The mourners were gathered, comforting Mary and Martha.  Martha and Mary each questioned Jesus.  “If you’d been here, Lazarus would still be alive.”


“Do you believe?” He asked.




“Take me to him,” He replied.


Jesus wept.


There is no Biblical foundation for this opinion, but I believe that Jesus wept as a man and as God.  The man wept at the loss of his friend.  He wept as He considered the suffering of his friend and the loss the sisters had endured, at the thought of this friend lying behind the stone.  As God, Jesus knew that Lazarus was in Abraham’s Bosom.  He was no longer in pain.  He no longer had to deal with the suffering that was common to the Jewish people.  No more Roman oppression.  No more turmoil.  He was in paradise.  Jesus may have wept because He was calling Lazarus back to life, actually calling him back to death.  Someday, Lazarus would again die.  Jesus knew this as He approached the tomb.


“Roll the stone away.”


“He’s been dead four days.  There will be a stench.”


“Didn’t you hear me?  Didn’t I say you would see God’s glory?  Roll away the stone.”


They obeyed.


“Father, for the sake of the people I pray, that they may believe.”  Then He shouted, “Lazarus, come forth.”


Lazarus came forth.  He heard the voice of the Lord, left the life of paradise and back into the world of death.  Could Lazarus have said “no?”  “Lord, I don’t want to go back.  I’m here with the saints of the past.  I’m comfortable.  I’m at peace.  There’s no more pain.  But, I love you Lord, so I’ll come back.  I’ll do your will and let God be glorified.”


The people, at Jesus’ command, removed the grave clothes and let him go.  Many more believed in Jesus that day.


What would we do?  Would we honor the Lord and leave life to return to death, bringing God glory or would we argue?  “God, I’m comfortable.  Please don’t make me move.”  We might say that we’d race to honor the call of Jesus.  But, would we really?  Consider our day-to-day lives.  How often do we argue with the Lord?  We don’t want to be uncomfortable.  “Don’t ask me, Lord.  It’s too hard.”  I know I’m guilty.  I don’t like to be uncomfortable.  Rarely, however, does the Lord call us into a more comfortable place.  When He calls, it’s usually to a less-convenient place.  It’s to a place of sacrifice.  If we obey His call and respond with “Yes, Lord.  I will come forth,” we will see God’s glory and others will believe in Him.  We will have been used to impact lives and souls.  That is a great blessing.

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