Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44 ESV)
Even death cannot stop the work of Jesus. He has the authority to give life to the dead! With this miracle, Jesus paints such a great picture of salvation. Jesus calls the dead person out of the grave so that he might live. And the dead person always responds! Pretty amazing stuff, huh? This miracle does foreshadow a bodily resurrection that the Christian will experience when Jesus returns, but more to the point Jesus shows us what it is to become a Christian. The person who does not know Jesus is spiritual dead (see Eph 2:1). The dead person can’t do anything. But of Jesus speaks to him he hears and comes to life. How do you know if Jesus has called you out of the grave? Everyone Jesus calls out of the grave believes Jesus is the Son of God who saves him from the power of death. Jesus saves people from death by dying in their place (that’s why Jesus died on the cross). The Bible calls this justification.
But look what he does next. Jesus tells those around him to “unbind him and let him go.” He sets them free from the decaying grave clothes that trap him. This is a picture of Jesus setting the new Christian free from the decay of his sin. The Bible calls this sanctification and it goes on throughout the Christian’s life. And look who Jesus works through to do this. He works through those who already to believe in Him. He works through the church!
Where are you? Have you heard Jesus call you out of the grave? Are you involved in the church to have your grave clothes (your sinful habits) taken off? Are you helping remove the grave clothes from others?
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 2 Sa 1, 1 Co 12, Ez 10, Jn 11