From death to life
John 11:32-44 & 12:1
This is one of the most amazing passages in the entire Bible in which we see the glory, power and majesty of Christ’s power in a dazzling display. A man named Lazarus was brought back from death to life. In this passage we can see what Jesus did for Lazarus, but, we can also see what He can do for all sinners, and that includes you and me!
You see, Jesus took Lazarus from his deathbed to eat at His table. Jesus has taken us from our deathbed to His table, because He has saved us by His grace.
For Lazarus, death had overtaken his sickness. He had no idea who was mourning him, so he was unable to respond to his surroundings. Even when Jesus showed up at his grave, he was unaware of his Holy presence. In this condition, he is a picture of every person who does not know the Lord Jesus.
Ephesians 2:1 says that the sinner is lost in trespasses and sins. In this lost condition, no sinner can sense the presence of the Lord. So, we can’t respond to the things of God. We cannot enjoy fellowship with God. Such a condition is pitiful, (v. 32, 39).
We know that Lazarus has been dead long enough for decay to set in. Yet, Jesus raised him, but… it was resuscitation, because he had to die again. You see it’s only at the resurrection that we are alive for evermore. Jesus was dead, but when He rose He was resurrected because He lives for evermore! But to Martha, Mary and the crowd Lazarus was doomed. He was dead and gone and nothing more could be done about it.
But this is where it gets interesting; Jesus was there. Those there were ready to leave Lazarus in the grave, but Jesus wasn’t. So Jesus makes all the difference! It is only Jesus who can make a difference in any person’s life who is dead to sin, lost in trespasses.
I believe this shows that we have to let Jesus bring life to our dead soul, for without Him, like Lazarus, we are doomed. The truth is Jesus, and Jesus alone, makes the difference in the life of the dead and lost sinner, (Acts 4:12; John 14:6).
Note, Jesus’ call to Lazarus was a personal call. In calling him by name Jesus was only calling him, no one else.
So, God calls us individually. He won’t call you through your mum or dad, your husband or wife, close friend or neighbour. No, Jesus comes for you personally, because He came to save individuals, (Luke 19:10).
And this call was a precise call “COME OUT!” Jesus told Lazarus exactly what he was supposed to do. Likewise, when Jesus comes calling us there will be no doubt as to what He wants us to do. He is calling us to come to Him and to believe in Him by faith. This call involves us acknowledging our sins, repenting of them, accepting His gracious gift of forgiveness because Jesus is the only way for our soul and spirit to find salvation, (Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9; Matt. 11:28; John 6:47). It is a powerful call for it brings us out of death and into His light and life.
This call changed Lazarus – where there was once death and decay there was now life. Lazarus could now have fellowship with his loved ones again, including fellowship with Jesus.
When a sinner comes to Jesus for salvation, that sinner is brought out of death and is made alive, (Eph. 2:5). Now we are able to have fellowship with God. Now, we are equipped to worship and glorify the God of Heaven, (John 4:24). Everything has changed and now we are alive to the things that we were dead to before. In fact, we now have an appetite for these things.
You see, Jesus breaks the power of sin on our life and allows us to go free, (Rom. 6:14), because His liberation and redemption saves us, (1 Pet. 1:18-19) and brings us into His wonderful light (John 8:12). This is the light Lazarus experienced when the covers were removed: light flooded into both his eyes and life!
The same is for us, every time we, as a sinner confess our sins, the light of Christ floods back into our lives breaking and expelling the darkness of that sin that has covered our lives. We are resuscitated by, and reinstated with Jesus. Now that we are alive again we can sit at the table with the Lord in fellowship with Him and our heavenly Father. Everything for us has now changed. Not only do we fellowship with God and Jesus here on earth we will also have fellowship with them in Jesus’ home on high, (John 14:1-3; Rev. 19).
Jesus willingly takes people like Lazarus, like you and me, who are dead in sin, and washes us in His own blood, thus saving us by His grace. all for the purpose of us spending eternity in fellowship with us.
If we are honest about our frailty and failings this is truly a blessing too large for us to get our mind around. Yet paradoxically what luxury is ours when we know the Lord, for when we respond to His call and let Him turn on the light in our soul and spirit He brings us life, and life in all its fullness.
May we listen to Jesus’ call on our life, for our relationship with Him needs work, regardless of how long we have known Him. Are you prepared to let Him work with you? When we allow Him, we will see the glory, power and majesty of God in Christ’s dazzling power being displayed in our lives, leading us from death to eating again at our Master’s table.
Based on a sermon from Second Sunday of Lent, 17th March 2019