I love this passage where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. There is so much to be learnt from it. Lessons about our faith, God’s timing, and about walking into His Resurrection life.
So often we, like Mary and Martha, have our faith based in yesterday or tomorrow! They believed “if you had been here my brother would not have died” and “”I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” but Hebrews 11 tells us NOW faith is… We must put our faith in God’s today!
The next thing we see is that Jesus waited. He didn’t go to heal Lazarus before he died – he didn’t even go immediately after he died. He waited 4 days. This was important as many of the Jews believed the spirit did not leave the body until the third day. He wanted to make sure every body believed it was too late!!! So often we try to place God in our timeframe. We give God a deadline and get upset if He doesn’t meet it. God, however, has an eternal perspective. Sometimes His ‘delays’ result in greater glory to God than what we could ever envisage.
I also love that this passage shows us that walking into God’s new life is a process! Verse 44 says “The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Though he had received new life, Lazarus could not see where he was going and his walk was severely restricted by his grave clothes! Jesus gave the command for them to be removed. Sometimes we wonder why we find it so difficult to go on in God and to make progress – the vestiges of ‘death’ are still all around us! Take note: Jesus did not instruct Lazarus to remove his own grave clothes – that would have been impossible as his hands were bound. Lazarus needed the assistance of those around him to be set free! We are no different. Things like this month’s services, Dr Robi’s seminar, lift courses and small groups are all great ways in which others are given the opportunity to help us walk in the freedom of God’s new life!
Pastor Rhonda Woodward