[Nov 18]--Resurrection: God’s Part And Ours

            Now we come to the climax of the chapter, one of the most dramatic moments in the entire Bible. Jesus was done weeping at the funeral of his friend. Now he was going to do something about it. Notice that he prayed out loud, not for his sake or the Father’s sake, but for the sake of the people around him, so that there was no doubt as to who was doing this.
            As some people have humorously noted, it’s a good thing that Jesus called out Lazarus by name; otherwise the entire graveyard would've been emptied. He called his friend back from the land of the dead and gave him back to his family.
            On a side note, I have to feel more than a little sorry for Lazarus. He was beyond pain, beyond any fears or heartaches or illness or sin. He was enjoying the company of the saints he'd only heard about: Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. He was in perfect Paradise, and got pulled back into this sin-infested, nasty, fallen world where there are plenty of tears, pain, suffering, and sin. I know that his family was missing him, but I do feel for the man.
            Now we come to a great lesson for us. These verses present a wonderful illustration of our salvation and the Christian life. I know that illustrations don’t prove anything and we can’t base our doctrines on them, but I think it’s pretty interesting and useful. I title this illustration “God’s part and ours.”
            Jesus stands in front of a man’s tomb and calls him out of it. Only the Lord himself can do that, both physically and spiritually. In the spiritual realm, Paul says that we weren't just in bad shape or on our deathbed: We were spiritually dead. This is not the EMT’s putting paddles on the victim and yelling “Clear!!!” This is being laid out on the slab with a sheet over you and the family coming to identify the remains.
            And Jesus comes along and calls you. He calls you out of death and into life. He calls you out of darkness and into his light. He calls you out of Satan’s kingdom and into his own. No mere human can do that. I can stand in front of a tomb all day and call Fred Smith out of his grave, but I don’t think I’d be successful.
            But I do have a part to play, just like the crowd gathered around did. Lazarus was walking (more like hopping) out of the tomb, and he was still wrapped up in his grave clothes. He’s still dressed like a dead man. And Jesus is telling us--you and me and everyone involved in the church--to help that man get properly dressed.
            In fact, that’s a pretty good description of what we’re doing in the church. All of us are in the process of removing the grave clothes, and none of us are perfectly dressed yet. All of us need some help getting out of these stinky bandages and into the proper clothes for God’s family. I know I need some help. Don’t you? Well, let’s help each other, like our Lord said.

Lord Jesus, I’m continually amazed at how you called me out from my grave. Only you could do that. So whom do I need to help get dressed?

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