We know the story. John Chapter 11.
Jesus and His disciples were in Jerusalem. The people demanded to know if He was the Christ. Jesus told them plainly that He was the Christ, the Son of God, equal with God. For this they sought to stone Him but He escaped, He and the disciples, to the other side of the Jordan. There word came to them that Lazarus, beloved friend of Jesus, brother of Mary and Martha, was sick. Despite the urgency of the need they stayed two more days. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go to Lazarus.” in spite of the threat of stoning. When they got to Bethany Jesus went to the tomb where Lazarus lay, now dead four days, his body already beginning to decay. Jesus spoke the words, “Lazarus come forth.” and Lazarus came out of the tomb, whole and healthy, restored to Mary and Martha, restored to Jesus.
So what’s the significance of this story? Jesus had raised Jarius’ daughter but she had been dead perhaps only hours or minutes. This was four days. Jesus had stayed away an extra two days after word had come of Lazarus’ illness. Jesus had done this on purpose so that the miracle would be unmistakable, irrefutable evidence that He was who He said He was. Look at the chain of events that proceeded from Jesus’ decisions. Many believed in Him when they saw the miracle and they went and told the Pharisees what they had seen. The Pharisees determined that something had to be done. Verse 53 says that from that day they plotted to put Him to death. Days later came the triumphal entry into Jerusalem when the crowd cried ‘Hosanna to Him who comes in the name of the Lord’ and the way to the cross became even more inevitable.
Jesus decided to wait until Lazarus was dead four days. Jesus decided to call Lazarus from the grave. He deliberately set in motion the chain of events that led to the cross. For love He did it. For love He went to the cross, savior of the world. For love of Lazarus He called him from the grave. Knowing it meant the cross was ahead He called Lazarus from the grave. Because for Jesus it’s personal.
We look at the symbols of Easter, the cross, the empty tomb and we see Jesus Christ, savior of the world. Be quote the scripture, ‘For God so loved the world…’. We pray our daily prayers, a dry impersonal list. We go through our lives, trying to live right, but missing the personal touch. I know it took the cross to purchase our salvation. I know that. But it’s in the story of Lazarus that we see the personal. When I was dead in my sins He stood at the tomb of my heart and called out. He did not call out to the world. He called to me, personally. He called my name. And I was born to a new life in Him.
Because for Jesus it’s personal.