He was a dead man.
The statement applied to him whether you looked at his past or his future.
A serious sickness took the life of Lazarus. His two sisters had summoned a special friend in hopes he could help. Though their village was a short distance from where he was, he didn’t arrive until several days later.
By that time their brother had died and already had been in the tomb for days. Four days to be exact.
Their friends gathered to mourn his passing and to comfort the sisters. When she heard the Master had come, Martha quickly dried her tears and went to him just outside of town. She greeted him with an expression of faith, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
Jesus replied, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
Martha went back to the house to get her sister Mary. She told her, “The Master is here and he is asking for you.”
Mary arose and went out to meet him. She greeted him with the same expression of faith as her sister. When Jesus saw their tears, he groaned in grief and asked about the grave. As they walked to the tomb, Jesus wept.
Several of those who saw it surmised that it was evidence of his love for Lazarus. Others questioned whether the miracle worker, who opened blind eyes, could have prevented the death of Lazarus. Hearing these comments, Jesus again groaned deep within.
The gathering crowd listened in amazement as Jesus commanded, “Take away the stone.”
Martha reminded him that her brother had been dead four days and the smell would be bad. Jesus simply reminded her that if they believed, they would see the glory of God.
The stone was moved aside with much effort, for it was a large stone.
After a short prayer, Jesus shouted loudly, “Lazarus, come forth.”
Those standing nearby saw movement in the dark shadows of the tomb. The silence of their astonishment was interrupted by the soft rustling of the graveclothes as Lazarus sat up. The tightly wrapped figure stepped into the sunlight.
“Loose him, and let him go,” Jesus commanded.
Some of the mourners cautiously stepped forward and began to unwind the burial wrap. At first they held their breath, fearful that the stench would be overwhelming.
Finally, Lazarus stood alive before his sisters. Their reunion was joyful, with hugs, smiles, and tears of happiness.
Days later they gathered for a celebration supper. After the meal, the men who had moved the stone recounted their strenuous effort.
Those who had stepped forward to unwrap Lazarus wrinkled their noses as they recalled their fear of a stench.
Lazarus smiled when he asked the others if they ever wondered where they were when they woke up. He reminded them of what Jesus said about those in the graves hearing his voice. This is recorded in John 5:28.
He related how he could hear his name loud and clear.
Then Mary opened some ointment and anointed the feet of Jesus. When others protested about the waste of the costly ointment, Jesus said to leave her alone, since she was doing this as preparation for his burial.
This will happen in the upcoming days, when they will witness an even greater resurrection.
From that time on, many believed and wanted to see the miracle as well as the miracle worker. Therefore, the religious leaders determined to kill Lazarus as well as Jesus.
So Lazarus, who had been dead but was raised up, was again to be a dead man. Instead of rejoicing in the miracle, they marked him for death. No record is given as to whether they accomplished this goal along with the death of Jesus.
No doubt Lazarus again faced death years later. Perhaps he even occupied the same tomb. One thing is certain, his resurrection was a powerful revelation of what the Lord Jesus can do.
As we enter the Easter season, it is an awesome truth to know about the Lord’s resurrection. He conquered death and the grave, never again subject to their impact.
His resurrection power can change lives here and now. An eternal future with the Lord is secured for the believer.
This is indeed cause for celebration.
Mitch Glover is pastor of the Sterling United Pentecostal Church on Swanson River Road at Entrada.
He invites everyone to celebrate the risen Lord at services on Sunday at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. as well as on Thursday at 7 p.m.
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