The story of Lazarus is one of the great stories in the Bible. Actually this was the miracle that sealed our Lord’s death. After Lazarus was raised from the dead, the leaders of the Jews were determined to have Christ executed. His greatest miracle had brought about the end of His life and earthly ministry. There is a ray of the Glory of God that shines out of the miracle of Lazarus. This glorious display of God’s love reaches through the years and reaches all the way to you and all the way to me.
At the beginning of the story Jesus heard of Lazarus sickness. Being Lazarus friend everyone thought Jesus would drop everything and run to his side. That is what the disciples thought, it is what the family thought. But they were all wrong, they were all very wrong. Jesus acted almost unconcerned, He waited two days to begin His journey to Bethany. Everyone was shocked and disappointed. No one could understand His actions.
Jesus said that Lazarus sickness would not end in death but that this sickness was to be used to bring glory to God. How could this be? Actually, many times the Lord does not respond when and how we want Him to. His delays are not denials. He has a time for everything. He had a time for Lazarus. He has a time for you.
When Jesus finally came to Bethany, Lazarus had been in his tomb for four days. The family and friends were devastated. Their brother was dead and their friend had let them down.
Jesus used this moment for a great teaching opportunity. He began to tell them that He was the Resurrection and the Life. He said, ‘If anyone believes in me he shall live even if he dies. I am the resurrection.” The words reminded everyone of Moses and the burning bush. Jesus was publicly calling Himself God.
Lazarus is a picture of all of us. We are all born dead in our own transgressions and in our sins. We are hopelessly lost until Christ comes and cries out our name. “Lazarus, come forth.”
When Jesus calls our name an awakening begins. Death loses its grip from our lives. Liberation flows into us. He begins a new life in us. The old life is gone and His life now begins. We are born again. Jesus has raised us up from the dead.
As I think about Lazarus being raised from the dead, a picture of Christ comes into my mind. It is Jesus standing outside the tomb just before He calls Lazarus. The Bible says in John 11:33 that Jesus groaned in the Spirit. The literal meaning is to snort with anger. Jesus was angry about what sin and death had done to Lazarus. He is angry about what sin has done to you.
I also see Jesus outside the tomb weeping. John 11:35
Jesus was moved with compassion over Lazarus’ dilemma. He is moved with compassion for you. Today, Jesus is standing outside your tomb. Maybe you are a Christian but you keep wandering back to the world and its ways and you keep going back to your old tomb. I think I hear Jesus outside, “Roll away the stone.” He is about to call your name.
Maybe you have experienced disappointment as a Christian. If you will be honest you will recognize you are not disappointed in people or disappointed in circumstances, but disappointed in God. He never responded the way you hoped or the way you thought He should. He seldom does. His ways are not our ways. His delays are not denials. He has an appointed time for your miracle, the time that will bring the greatest glory to God. In the meantime, He is calling out to you. In our darkest times, He becomes our closest friend. Draw near to God. Take the expectations and timetable off of Him. Let your Christianity just be about love, not about performance. I think someone is standing outside the tomb calling out your name.