August 15, 2020

Raising Lazarus

John 11:38-44

Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

—  John 11:43-44

Scholars describe the raising of Lazarus as the seventh and final “sign” or miracle in the book of John, and—as we can see—Jesus has saved the best for last.

Even though Lazarus has been dead for several days, Jesus pulls him back from death’s grasp and restores him to life. All it takes is Jesus’ command. The voice that spoke creation into existence now calls him out of the darkness of death and into the light of life again.

In our skeptical, post­modern age, this may seem like a ­story that’s been embellished by John to help “sell” people on the idea of following Jesus. But this miraculous story is real. Like the other signs in the book of John, it is meant to point to a deeper truth about Jesus and his ministry.

Lazarus’ resurrection points us to the hope of resurrection and new life that we have in Christ. What Jesus did for Lazarus is also a promise for all who believe: in Jesus there is no ene­my of God—not even death itself—that can defeat us. If we are in Christ, we will have eternal life and victory over death, no matter what we face today.

When we have times in which we are struggling, anxious, or afraid, we can look to Jesus and remember his promises of life forever with him. Nothing is too big, and no problem is too difficult for Jesus to overcome. Not even death itself.

Father, when things are difficult and I feel discouraged, give me hope. Help me to trust in your power to bring me into life forever with you. Amen.

About the author — A.J. Gretz

Anthony Joseph (A.J.) Gretz is a pastor in Grandville, Michigan. He has also served churches in Ohio and in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He and his wife, Anna, have three children.

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