Ancient Words: Miracles of Jesus, Rise Up Lazarus
Interestingly, Jesus performed two miracles involving death before the raising of his friend, Lazarus. Both miracles involve children and the first was with the young daughter of a synagogue leader: Mark 5:38-42 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.
The second one involved the young son of a widow from the village of Nain: Luke 7:11-17 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
These two miracles displayed both compassion and indeed the awesome power of the Lord Jesus. Jesus could suspend nature’s laws in any fashion he chose because he, the Christ, was through whom and by whom all things had and have been made (Colossians 1). One young girl and one young man—-death was not a problem for the one who stilled raging seas, fed thousands with a morsel of bread and fish, who turned water to wine, or who restored life to bodies ridden with pain and disease and loss of precious functions.
Just hours before the great miracle of his own resurrection, Jesus brings all of his power to consummation at the tomb of Lazarus. “It has been 4 days…”— his sister cries, and his body is in decay! Jesus had delayed 2 days coming just so the great glory of God would be seen by Lazarus’ family, a host of friends, and even those set to betray and crucify him: John 11:9-11 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
The light was about to shine in glorious display at the tomb of Lazarus! The darkness of death would be suspended for Jesus’ closest friend, even after 4 days in the grave, and victory over death itself would be proclaimed even as he said “Lazarus, come forth!!”
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Be a Light!
A friend told me once about the time her daughter came home from kindergarten with a homemade gift. The child had taken a small red clay bowl/flower pot and decorated it for her. She told her mom that it was a “tea light candle holder.” It was simple but mom and daughter both cherished it! The little girl was so proud when mom placed the first candle. A few weeks later it got knocked from the table and it broke into about seven pieces. The little girl was devastated, but not for long. The mother, being the quick minded problem solver was able to redirect this tragedy into a touching teaching lesson. She grabbed some glue and had her daughter help her glue the pieces back together. When it was done, the little girl was still upset that not all the pieces fit properly and that there were cracks. Mom explained that we all must be broken and recreated by God to be His vessel. The candle was meant to be seen and when there were no cracks the light was hidden. What a beautiful illustration!
Sometimes in life we face problems and Jesus is there to pick up the pieces and create a masterpiece out of brokenness. When we let Jesus do that and invite Him into our lives we can shine for Him and be a light in this dark world!
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Captain Jason Perdieu is corps officer of the Salvation Army of El Dorado.