Wednesday, April 28

Oh, Laz-ar-us!

I love John 11:43 in the original Greek Text. Before I share why I love it, let’s go back to the beginning of the story.

On the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, approximately two miles east of Jerusalem, and on the road to Jericho, sat the little town of Bethany, home of the family Jesus deeply loved…Lazarus and his two sisters Mary and Martha.

When Lazarus became gravely ill, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”

“When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’” Yet, He did not leave but stayed where He was for two more days.

Jesus told the disciples that Lazarus was dead and added, “I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”

When they neared Bethany, they learned that Lazarus had been buried four days before.

Martha heard that Jesus was on the outskirts of town and went out to meet Him. “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha thought that Jesus meant Lazarus would rise again in the last day resurrection.

Explaining, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

She answered, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Martha then went to get Mary and said, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” Mary jumped up and ran to find Jesus. Finding Him, she fell down at His feet, weeping and said to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw the tears streaming down her face and heard the cries of the other mourners with her, He “groaned” in His spirit. “Groaned” in Greek usually means to be angry or indignant, or to reprove severely, as violent agitation of mind. But here, it is that inward agitation of grief. He was deeply disturbed at seeing the sorrow of others.

When they took Jesus to Lazarus’ tomb, the depth of Jesus’ sorrow became evident, for “Jesus wept.”

Jesus told some of the men to remove the stone from the entrance to the tomb. Martha said, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”

Here is my very favorite verse, “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?’” (v40 Amp)

As they rolled away the stone, Jesus lifted His eyes and prayed. (Now, we come to the verse I mentioned at the beginning.) Then, Jesus yelled out, as it says in the Greek, in a ‘megas’ voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”

I love looking up the original meanings of the Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible as they give a greater depth to the insights of a verse. What Jesus said was this, “Lazarus! Here! Outside!”

Can’t you just see Jesus pointing His finger at the tomb and then at the ground, stomping His foot, and commanding in great resolution and power that Lazarus come out and join Jesus?

However, what we fail to realize is that when Jesus stood before all the tombs that day, He had to yell, “Lazarus!” If He had not, every one of the bodies buried there would have come out with him!

So, out hobbled Lazarus, wrapped head to foot in his burial cloths. Jesus said to those around Him, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

I love this story. It reminds me of a friend who prayed desperately for her brother to be released from his grave of darkness and come out into the Light.

Jesus loves each one of us just as much as He loved Lazarus. He weeps that death separates us from Him without His salvation. He gives us a Lazarus-call, beckoning us to come out of our darkness into His Light.

When we hear His call, do we stay in our darkened tomb, wrapped in our stinking death cloths, or do we shed them and come out to join the Light of Life? Will God be glorified?

“Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?”

5 Responses
  1. Wow Lynn... Wow!!

    This is a great post!

    Praise God and I thank Him for the reminder to join Him the light of life.

  2. For what it's worth, three thoughts:

    1) I've wondered if perhaps everyone misunderstood, and he was actually grieved (aggravated, etc.) to the point of weeping because nobody--not even Mary--believed him.

    2) "Lazarus" wasn't that uncommon a name--probably several were buried there. You know when it's you Jesus is talking to, whether he uses your name or not--and I suspect he did it for the benefit of the onlookers.

    3) Recalling that exiting the grave put Lazarus on some people's "assassinate this guy" lists, I wonder what the rest of his life was like.

  3. Sally Says:

    This story is a moving portrait of the relationship Jesus had with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. I believe we, too, can have such a relationship.
    An interesting thought, what was the Lazarus' life like after this?

  4. Dawn Wilson Says:

    You made the story come alive, Lynn.
    We all had a Lazarus moment when we passed from death to life--and it's all because of Jesus. Glory!

  5. Thanks Lynn for this timely post! I was at a funeral Thursday morning and this was the text for the message. And this passage is also part of my personal testimony of coming to Christ. So it's a favorite of mine too :)