BIBLE INSIGHTS in 500 words
Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.
“Lazarus, come forth!”
- He stands before a large crowd.
- His reputation is on the line.
- He shouts to Lazarus by name.
- A dead man comes out of a tomb.
It is a wondrous story that mixes horror and joy like mud and liquid gold. Jesus asks for the stone to be taken away (vs. 41-42),
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 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” (vs. 41-42).
NOTICE: At the tomb, Jesus does not pray for the resurrection of Lazarus. He had already prayed. This was why he delayed (John 11:1-7).
NOTICE: Mary is concerned about the odor (vs. 39): “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.”
NOTICE: The stone is removed and the odor Martha feared was not present. God had preserved the body of Lazarus, “Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out” (vs. 43)!
Look at this event through the eyes of Jesus. Jesus knows that death awaits him and it will be soon. God validates the faith of his Son, a confident faith that the Father will raise him from the grave (see Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34; and parallel passages in Matthew and Luke). The resurrection of Lazarus is validation of the confidence of Jesus in the plan of God to raise Jesus from the dead.
- Lazarus was raised into the life of an ordinary human being. He would die again.
- But Jesus would go through death and out the other side into a new kind of life. “If you believe, you will see the glory of God” (vs. 40).
Let’s review the story of the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11 and see the expressions of faith in Jesus:
- Thomas trusted him with his life even if following him means he must go with him into the jaws of death; we follow Jesus who is the light of the world (vs. 16).
- Martha trusts him to bring God’s future into her present reality; we believe the new creation is present in Jesus (vs. 27).
- Mary demonstrates the love she shares with Jesus so that her presence brought him to tears; we know he shares our tears and brings us hope (vs. 32-350.
- Lazarus is silent in the story. He speaks through the image of a man bound by death, loosed, and alive. In the next chapter we see “Lazarus was among the company at table with him” (John 12:2). Here we anticipate the meal Jesus will eat when we are with him in the New World.