Lazarus – Part 3
28When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus wept. 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” 38Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
In most dramatic fashion, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. After four days in the tomb we can be certain he was most decidedly dead. There are other people Jesus raises from death during His ministry, but this story is by far the most spectacular. Jesus again states why this all took place. It was for the glory of God and bringing people to faith in the One True God. And I believe there was yet another reason. Jesus raised Lazarus from death because He loved Mary and Martha. He had it within His power to relieve their pain and so He showed His great compassion and gave them back their brother.
“Unbind him, and let him go.” That is where my mind rested this morning. The work of Jesus actually unbinds us all. We are all caught up in our slavery to sin. Jesus comes and breaks our bondage to sin and death. He is Lord and Master over our final great enemy – death. It must have been quite a scene. The townspeople go with Mary and Martha to show Jesus the grave so the number of witnesses to this miracle is large. When Jesus says “Lazarus, come out!”, in my imagination, he has to hop out because he had been wrapped in grave cloths. There can be no doubt about the Lord Jesus now. He is Master over all. Not only did Jesus bring Lazarus back for more life on earth, He brings us out of the darkness of sin so that our time left here on earth can be unfettered by bondage to sin. We can live as He calls rather than as sin demands. Our freedom has been won so we can either live wrapped in grave cloths, or we can “come out” of the grave and walk in that amazing freedom. Granted, we probably do a little bit of both (see Romans 7) but praise be to God that our final disposition is that of a person free from sin.
Carmen, a recording artist from several years ago, told this story in most entertaining fashion. I’ve included a link to that song below. He does a very good job with this whole story, telling it from the perspective of Lazarus.