John 11: 32-46 KJV
Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept.
Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
The encounters with Jesus in the stories in this devotional series result in transformations in those with whom He interacts. The story of Lazarus and others in John 11 go beyond transformative. Lazarus is given new life. Mary and Martha, already his friends and believers in his special powers, see the miracle Jesus performs as evidence of his being the Savior. The snitches who carry the story of Jesus’ works to the Pharisees fulfill prophesy. The Pharisees (later in this chapter) grow to fear his potential impact and plot to kill Jesus and thereby, thinking only of their short-term interest, participate in changing the world as it has never been changed.
Did Jesus really bring Lazarus back from death? Does it matter? At the very least he recognized that Lazarus could be brought out of the tomb without the “stink of death.” Lazarus’ rising is a perfect metaphor for Jesus own impending rising under the hand of God. His act made believers of many. The story gives rise to Jesus’ wonderful aphorism: “I am the resurrection and the life…” To believe that gives rise to our own eternal aspirations.
Dear Lord, Your acts as described in John both amaze and humble us. Their impact on the world still redounds. The people who experienced those acts were part of Your initial disciples and group of believers, who used Your strength and inspiration to broadcast Your role and mission around their world and the much larger world for 2000 years. Give us the strength and the will to continue that tradition. In Thy name we pray. Amen.