Come Forth!

Bible Reading: John 11

John 11:43, “He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, COME OUT!’”

John 11:44, “The man who had died CAME OUT.”

Lazarus died.  They wrapped him in grave clothes and laid him in a cave.  A stone, lying against the entrance, prevented the stench of his rotting corpse from reaching the nostrils of the living.  Many had come to console his sisters.  They all gathered together and wept.  Jesus arrived—too late, they thought–to be of any help.  “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died,” Mary said (John 11:32).  Jesus saw Mary weeping and the others weeping with her.  “He was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled” (John 11:33).  “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

Jesus came to the tomb.  His surprising command, “Take away the stone,” was met with reluctant concern: “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days” (John 11:39).  Lazarus was dead and gone, buried, and rotting away when Jesus called him forth.

The stone was removed.  Jesus offered a prayer to thanks to God.  Then “He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out’ (John 11:43) and Lazarus “came out” (John 11:44).  At His command, life was imparted and Lazarus came forth. 

The lost sinner is dead in his trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).  Physically, he may walk and he may breathe, but spiritually speaking, he is as lifeless as Lazarus lying in that grave.  He is as utterly helpless to do anything to rectify his lost condition (Romans 5:6), as Lazarus was to revive himself.  There is no one on earth who can do anything to bring life to a dead soul. But Jesus can…

“In Him was life” (John 1:4).  He has “life in Himself” (John 5:26).  He is “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).  He came to die for sins and “destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).  It was “impossible” for Him to be held in death’s power (Acts 2:24).  He is the “living One, (who was) dead… and (is) alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:18).  Those who trust in Him as Savior and Lord instantaneously pass “from death to life” (John 5:24).

How wonderful the day, believer, when life was imparted to your sin-dead soul by the Lord Jesus Christ!  Your first birth anticipated future death; re-birth brought eternal life.  Identified with Christ in His death, you were raised with Him to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).  You were “made alive together” with Him (Ephesians 2:5).  Jesus is now your life (Colossians 3:4).  You were dead!  Now you are alive in Him (Galatians 2:20)! 

“Death and the grave are never satisfied” (Proverbs 27:20, CEV), but they will gain no satisfaction in the death of one of His redeemed.  He who called Lazarus from his tomb and rose triumphantly from His will call us forth from ours.  “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).  Lazarus came forth from his tomb in earthly garb, but in Jesus’ return the believer will experience a more glorious exodus in which He “will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).

Loved ones in Christ have departed us.  But the Day of Christ’s return draws near.  He will “descend from heaven with a cry of command… and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).  He cried out to Lazarus and Lazarus came forth.  He will come from heaven with a shout and the dead in Christ will rise up to meet Him.  Jesus, the Life-Giver, has the power to do that.  He emptied Lazarus’ tomb and will empty countless others in His return.  He says, “come forth” and they do.

“The sinner can no more raise himself from the deadness of sin than Lazarus, who had been dead four days, until Jesus came.”

George Whitefield


In loving kindness Jesus came
My soul in mercy to reclaim,
And from the depths of sin and shame
Through grace He lifted me.

From sinking sand He lifted me,
With tender hand He lifted me,
From shades of night to plains of light,
O praise His name, He lifted me!

He called me long before I heard,
Before my sinful heart was stirred,
But when I took Him at His word,
Forgiven He lifted me. [Refrain]

His brow was pierced with many a thorn,
His hands by cruel nails were torn,
When from my guilt and grief, forlorn,
In love He lifted me. [Refrain]

Now on a higher plane I dwell,
And with my soul I know ’tis well;
Yet how or why, I cannot tell,
He should have lifted me. [Refrain]

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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