In this week’s passage, a dead man walks out of a tomb.
No matter who you are, this text forces you to make a choice. You will either believe that Lazarus came back to life or you won’t. The gospel of John is a historical biography of the life of Jesus, so this story is considered history as well. The implications of a dead person coming to life are massive.
Let’s walk through a few of them together.
Read this from the Bible together:
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 “Remove the stone,” Jesus said.
Martha, the dead man’s sister, told him, “Lord, there is already a stench because he has been dead four days.”
40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. 42 I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so that they may believe you sent me.” 43 After he said this, he shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and let him go.”
Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. “Deeply moved” doesn’t just mean grief, the original translation of the phrase means “intense anger”. Jesus is furious at death. Does Jesus’ response to death comfort you or cause you concern? Have you ever been furious at death?
Martha, the dead man’s sister, told him, “Lord, there is already a stench because he has been dead four days.” Martha and the crowd would’ve been horrified at the idea of rolling the stone away—it was messy and offensive. Can you identify where you might be standing between Jesus and the tomb like Martha? Are there things you are telling God he can’t have access to? Anything that you’ve buried alive?
The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth.” Lazarus came out of the tomb with limited physical and visual ability; he had to hop out blind and clumsy. Jesus is still in the business of helping us move from death to life, but it may mean that you are limited in some way as he begins to heal and teach you. In what ways are you still shedding sin? What is helping you? What are you learning?
”Are you stopping at grief too often?” Pastor Brian explained how Jesus’ righteous anger led to righteous action. Have you seen your grief compel you towards righteous action? If so, how?
”This might get difficult, but Jesus wants to deal with it.” What is your greatest temptation when it comes to dealing with painful or “dead” parts of your past? What death do you most often try to avoid?
”We can’t get ourselves out of the tomb, Jesus has to call us out.” Jesus is calling us out of the tomb. In what areas do you hear Jesus calling you out of the tomb and into new life? If you can’t hear him, have you considered if you’ve been hanging out near the tomb refusing to come out?