Resurrection – Well, at least Resuscitation

John 11:38-44
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 and the only one that happens publicly. 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 their brother back to them.

What we do not have is a Savior who is unfamiliar with tragedy or suffering. Can we think for even one moment that the Father did not find the torture and death of His Son a tragedy? Can we believe that caused Him no pain? Of course not. Yes, both Jesus and the Father knew the outcome would be victory in the end. But did that help with the pain while they were in the midst of the struggle?

I think it did. And it can be so for us as well. In the midst of the tragedy, we simply must hold on to our trust in the God of the Universe to make all things right, for He promises that He will. If you are not the one who is suffering right now, perhaps it is your job to reassure the one who is that they can still trust in God – every time.

“Unbind him, and let him go.” 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 – eternal death. It must have been quite a scene. The townspeople/mourners go with Mary and Martha to show Jesus the grave, so the number of witnesses to this miracle is large. Then Jesus says “Lazarus, come out!”, and 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 and bound instead to an eternity spent in heaven with our Lord.