Jesus wept and mourned with others.
Now, He turns to the goal of His mission to “awaken” Lazarus…
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go."
John 11:38-44 (NIV)
The Final Word on Death
The climax of the Lazarus story blows me away. Jesus, in a heavenly aside, speaks aloud to the Father “for the benefit” of His hearers—and for us. He wanted to confirm He was the Resurrection and the Life, the Son of God came to earth.
When Jesus speaks, things obey. Earlier in the Gospels, He spoke and nature obeyed.
This time, He commands life.
He unties the shackles of death with one command.
We spend countless hours trying to control our health and wellness. We diet, buy organic foods, exercise, and worry endlessly about our human condition.
But in the end, we do not have the final word on life and death.
He’s “Still Rolling Stones”
Jesus commanded the people to “remove the stone” blocking the grave.
At His own resurrection, the sealed stone also rolled away.
These stones mark the permanency of death. They protect the deceased from robbers and further harm. They separate the dead from the “land of the living.”
But, Jesus has the power over death. When He returns again and commands the dead to rise, He will roll aside the stone of death for good.
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"But in the end, we do not have the final word on life and death. Jesus does."
This post is honor of my father Daniel Hopkins, who went to sleep the same day this post was published.