Letters to the Prison - Week 129

Hello, everyone.  We’re studying John 11.  Last week, Jesus made an astonishing claim:
•“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 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.”
-John 11:41-42
Here, Jesus claims that God always hears him in such a way that God inevitably fulfills everything Jesus ever asks of him.  So confident is Jesus of this, in fact, that he speaks under the assumption that God has already heard him… and has already acted.  
Then, having no sooner made the claim, Jesus backs that claim up.  Watch:
•When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”  
-John 11:43
Let’s spend some time looking at what just happened.  Well, first, let’s look at a few things that didn’t happen.  Consider what Jesus didn’t say… or didn’t do.  Jesus didn’t ask God for anything.  He didn’t get on his knees and say some lengthy formulaic prayer…  no hocus-pocus.. no theatrics…  no earnest begging… no flashy gestures…  he just issued a simple command.
And he did so assuming Lazarus could hear him… And that Lazarus would obey the command.
Lazarus… who had been dead four days…
•“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.-John 5:25
When Jesus spoke those words, he was speaking of spiritual things… eternal things…  but here he is backing those words up in a literal public way.  The Son of God spoke… Lazarus heard his voice… and:
•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 11:44
Some more things Jesus didn’t do:  He didn’t touch Lazarus even after he walked out of his tomb…  others went and unbound him.  Note also that Lazarus needed help removing his grave clothes.  He couldn’t raise himself from the dead…  and he couldn’t unbind himself.  We encourage you to spend a few moments considering the implications of that…  both spiritually and physically…  Lazarus was in a condition about which he could do precisely nothing…  he was dead and buried.  Utterly helpless.  And yet Jesus still had the power to rescue him.
This, dear friends, is another object lesson in Jesus’ presence and power.  He told Nicodemus that one must be born again (John 3:1-8)… how much control do we have over our own birth?  None.  And then, here Jesus is raising Lazarus back to life… how much control do we have once we’re dead?  Again.  None.  Yet Jesus has supreme power and control at all times.  Here with Lazarus, he’s proven that decisively, publicly, and indisputably.  How will we respond?  

Dean A.

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