Reading again the account of Christ calling Lazarus out of the tomb just now, I was struck by a few things.
Jesus was moved so much in His Spirit that he cried. (Jesus wept, verse 35). He was also deeply moved as he came to the tomb.
There were two responses from those standing in the crowd. Some of those Jewish people spoke of his love for the man: (Verse 36 “See how He loved him.”)
The other, probably more typical response – especially as, by then, Christ was well known for His miracles, in true cynical fashion retorted: “He’s opened blind eyes! Couldn’t He have prevented this man’s death?” Verse 37).
I sat here thinking, boy, when you see what happens next, you’re gonna cop it!
Jesus begins with a prayer to His Father for the sake of those who were watching, that they, too might believe He came from the Father.
What utter compassion. If it was me, I know I’d be standing on the side of the cynics. I know that, because of everything that’s happened to me over the past almost 52 years. Yet I call Christ my Saviour, these days. I DO believe, but what am I truly made of? It’s worth asking the question. (Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling: Philippians 2:12). Meanwhile, Christ’s compassion.
We all know what happens after that prayer. He calls Lazarus out of the tomb after calling for the stone to be removed. But even in this, there’s a battle of wills.
Martha: Lord, it’ll stink if you do that. He’s been in there for four days! (Verse 38).
Jesus speaks up for God: Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? Well, the stone is rolled away, Christ prays, then He calls the dead man out. Lazarus, bound, walks out.
That’s how it’ll be at His return. He will call the dead in Christ out of their graves, and we shall all stand before Him. There’ll be no battle of wills then. Instead, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.” (Philippians 2:10).