As I’ve been going through the book of John, I’ve had several moments where I felt like I found a treasure box. You know when you read something and you just know there is so much to be unpacked? That’s how I felt with John 11. I heard and felt God speaking in so many ways. Jesus performed this miracle, it was his greatest miracle yet, in taking something that was dead and bringing it to LIFE. And he says he did it so that we would believe. And yes, I had that moment where I understood who Jesus was and who I was and he brought me life, but how often do I walk as if I don’t have that life? How often do I continue walking in the ways I always did; thinking with the same patterns of negativity, the same talking of self-centeredness, the same doing of thinking my actions bring me worth?
While sitting in this chapter, I heard empathy, power and freedom. First, Jesus wept at the new of Lazarus dying. He wept because he knew him and his family. This God who has the power to bring something dead to life, is a BIG God but he desires to have an intimate relationship with us. He cares for us. I think he wept mostly because he knew them, but also because he knew that death was not a part of him and his Father’s original plan. It is a symptom of a sinful and broken world. And that grieved him. Just as [or more] than it grieves us. He knew he was going to bring Lazarus back to life, but he chose to enter into their present sadness.
When he goes to where Lazarus has been buried, Jesus asks them to move the stone. He could have moved the stone with a simple word but he allowed the people there to be involved, as he did with most of his miracles. And as he does with us today. The people questioned him, but Jesus insisted. He knew there was more to moving the stone than simply observing a dead body. He knew the life that would come from this man, and the life it would bring to the people watching. There was a transformation to see. There was power to see so that hearts could believe that He is able. He is able to take anyone’s dirty, smelly sin and make them clean and ALIVE. Nothing is out of his ability. No one, even in a tomb, is out of his reach.
Jesus brings Lazarus back to life by calling him out of the tomb. He came out and he was raised to life BUT he still had linen strips binding his hands and feet together and a cloth covering his face. This miracle of taking what was dead and bringing it to life wasn’t done. Lazarus had to be free. Those linen strips had to be removed so he could walk in his newness of life. Jesus didn’t just want Lazarus alive, he wanted him to be an instrument of God’s grace, a witness of God’s power, and a testimony that He is the giver of life.
As I came to know Jesus, I remember being initially skeptical of what this life is like that he offers. I remember hearing John 10:10 and I’ve come back to it again this week:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Don’t we all long for abundant, full life? Why wouldn’t we trust the one who not only has the power to take something dead and bring it to life, but also the one who chooses to enter into our worldly sorrows and care for us? As I reflect on my desire to walk in this newness of life he offers, I am forced to see what is blocking me from doing so. I have been freed from the dominion of sin and brokenness defining me. I am able to walk with unbound feet and hands, and eyes that see from God’s perspective. While this is the reality, there is an undoing and an unbinding that has to be done. I have to take off the old patterns that are not of God and put on Him. I have been freed, now would I let that freedom infiltrate into every area of my life: my thinking, my saying, my doing?
For freedom Christ has set us free;
stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
I have created a free printable with Galatians 5:1, please feel free to head over to my Freebies page and download it for personal use!