“No doubt Lazarus told Mary and Martha afterwards about what it felt like to be raised, but we really cannot reconstruct that conversation. However, we can be sure that Lazarus did not say that while Jesus pulled and pulled, he, Lazarus, pushed and pushed, until there he was, alive again” (From Doug Wilson, Out of Darkness, Light, p. 142).
“Jesus had to say, “Lazarus, come forth!” because if He had just said, “Come forth,” all the dead would have come forth.”
While preparing or the message on Sunday, I was reminded of this quote from Matthew Henry. Such is the power of Jesus, when He called Lazarus from the tomb (John 11:43), if he had merely said, “Come forth,” hell would have been emptied and every tomb burst open. Here stands the one through whom all things were made, and without whom “was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). Standing before the tomb was the Word of God, the very Word that was spoken in creation bringing all things to life. Jesus had to be careful what he said, there was power in His word.
What is truly amazing is that Jesus still calls us by name, calls us out of the tombs and into a new life with Him. Each of us, at some point, or maybe even now, have lived in the tombs. We may be living, but we are living in the ways of the world, following after the desires of our own hearts, living for ourselves. We think we are alive, but the truth is, we are dead to the things of God.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). While we were dead in our sins, Jesus, who is the Resurrection and the Life, called us out of the tombs, out of the death of sin, and into a new life with Him. It is important that Jesus said He is the Resurrection and the Life (and in that order), for there is no life for those who are dead unless they have first been resurrected. As it was for Lazarus, so it is for us today. We are dead in our sins, and Christ calls us to life.
When Jesus calls, his call brings the grace and forgiveness that comes with His cross. We are set free from sin and death, and set free for life with Him. He calls us out of a life of sin, in which we lay aside the burial cloths, those sins that bound us and trapped us, and He sets us free to a life of peace and righteousness. He has raised us, and given us life!
Friends, Jesus is calling. He knows your name, and He loves you. You never have to doubt His love, He demonstrated it on the cross. If you have heard Him calling, or if you hear Him calling today, know that the One who is the Resurrection and the Life is calling you to Himself. Rise up out of the tombs, and begin your new life in Christ.
May the joy of the Resurrection be yours!