Monday, April 21, 2014

COME FORTH! (John Chapter 11)

John 11:43, “He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, COME OUT!’”

John 11:44, “The man who had died CAME OUT.”
Lazarus died.  They wrapped him in grave clothes and laid him in a cave.  A stone, lying against the entrance, prevented the stench of his rotting corpse from reaching the nostrils of the living (Cf. John 11:39).  Many had come to console his sisters (Cf. John 11:19).  They all gathered together and wept.  Jesus arrived—too late, they thought, to be of any help.  “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died,” Mary said (John 11:32).  Jesus saw Mary weeping and the others weeping with her.  “He was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled” (John 11:33).  “Jesus wept” (John 11:34).
Jesus came to the tomb.  His surprising command, “Take away the stone,” was met with reluctant concern: “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days” (John 11:39).  Lazarus was dead and gone, buried and rotting away, when Jesus called him forth.
The stone was removed (John 11:41).  Jesus offered a prayer to thanks to God (John 11:42).  Then “He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out’ (John 11:43) and Lazarus “came out” (John 11:44).  At His command, life was imparted.  At His command, Lazarus came forth. 
The lost sinner is dead in his trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).  Physically he may walk and he may breathe, but spiritually speaking he is as dead and lifeless as Lazarus lying in that grave.  He is as utterly helpless to do anything to rectify his lost condition (Romans 5:6), as Lazarus was to revive himself.  There is no one on earth who can do anything to bring life to a dead soul.
“In Him was life” (John 1:4).  He has “life in Himself” (John 5:26).  He is “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).  He came to die for sins and “destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).  It was “impossible” for Him to be held in death’s power (Acts 2:24).  He is the “living One, (who was) dead…and (is) alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:18).  Those who trust in Him as Savior and Lord instantaneously pass “from death to life” (John 5:24).
How wonderful the day, believer, when life was imparted to your sin-dead soul by the Lord Jesus Christ!  Your first birth anticipated future death, re-birth brought eternal life.  Identified with Christ in His death, you were raised with Him to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).  You were “made alive together” with Him (Ephesians 2:5).  Jesus is now your life (Colossians 3:4).  You were dead!  Now you are alive in Him (Cf. Galatians 2:20)!  How did it happen?  Solely by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:1-10)!
“Death and the grave are never satisfied” (Proverbs 27:20, CEV), but they will gain no satisfaction in the death of one of His redeemed.  He who called Lazarus from his tomb and rose triumphantly from His, will call us forth from ours.  “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).  Lazarus came forth from his tomb in earthly garb, but in Jesus’ return the believer will experience a more glorious exodus in which He “will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).
Loved ones in Christ have departed us.  But the Day of Christ’s return draws near.  He will “descend from heaven with a cry of command…and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).  He cried out to Lazarus and Lazarus came forth.  He will come from heaven with a shout and the dead in Christ will rise up to meet Him.  Jesus, the Life-Giver, has the power to do that.  He emptied Lazarus’ tomb and will empty countless others in His return.  He says “come forth” and they do.

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