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October 4, 2016

Raising the Dead

“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 11:43-44 (NIV)

Of all the miracles Jesus performed, the raising of Lazarus from the dead was the most powerful and climactic that John recorded. It certainly raised the greatest response from His friends and His enemies. Although Jesus had raised others from the dead in His earthly ministry, Lazarus had been in the grave for four days! In the next chapter, John tells us that the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus, “for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in Him.” John 12:10-11 (NIV) Maybe it’s my weird sense of humor, but I have to laugh when I think of how Lazarus must have responded to that threat. “Put me to death? Go ahead! I’ve been there and done that! Jesus can just raise me up again!” Talk about instilling courage and confidence! When you serve a God that has power over death, what can intimidate you? The Bible says,

“And if being a Christian is of value to us only now in this life, we are the most miserable of creatures.” 1 Corinthians 15:19 (TLB)

Death is our final enemy, but Jesus Christ has defeated death and offers us comeback capacity! We no longer have to fear this dreaded enemy. The writer of Hebrews says,

“Since all of these sons and daughters have flesh and blood, Jesus took on flesh and blood to be like them. He did this so that by dying He would destroy the one who had power over death (that is, the devil). In this way He would free those who were slaves all their lives because they were afraid of dying.” Hebrews 2:14-15 (GW)

Not only does Jesus’ power to raise the dead free us from the fear of dying, but it also enables us with power for living! When Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus he said,

“I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in heaven.” Ephesians 1:19-20 (TLB)

How do we tap into that power? The key word in John 11 is “believe”. It’s used at least eight times in this account. At the graveside, Jesus said to Lazarus’ grieving sisters,

“Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40 (NIV)

We simply need to put our faith in Christ. In verses 25 and 26 Jesus says,

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Do you believe this? The life Jesus offers is none other than His very own! He gave His life for us that He may offer His life to us. It’s what dead men need, and it’s the greatest miracle of all!