38 Jesus was deeply disturbed again when he came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone covered the entrance. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.”
40 Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?” 41 So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 I know you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43 Having said this, Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”
45 Therefore, many of the Jews who came with Mary and saw what Jesus did believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
I love the story of Lazarus.
I’ve preached the story of Lazarus.
I love the dynamics between Lazarus and his sisters. I love seeing the full humanness of Jesus crying paired with the full divinity of Jesus raising from the dead. I love the curious words Jesus says while performing this miracle – and that’s where we’ll put our focus this morning.
Over the past week or so of us writing about the miracles of Jesus, you may have noticed some patterns – even though they are all different. Many of the miracles have a conversation between Jesus and the person being healed about faith. But here, Jesus can’t converse with Lazarus – so the dialogue of faith are actually for the crowd. But as Pastor Joe had mentioned in a recent sermon, when these texts were written, they were written in all caps with no punctuation, so when Jesus says, “I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me.” is His saying “Father, thank you for hearing me. I know you always hear me.” for the benefit of the crowd or “Lazarus come out!” for the benefit of the crowd?
If the former, His lesson is about prayer and including God in all that we do.
If the latter, His lesson is about God’s command over death.
Perhaps it’s both.
What way speaks to you today?
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Read over today’s text again, maybe even read it removing punctuation between the words of Jesus. Are there any specific words that stand out? Why might that be?
Prayer: Holy Lord, Your Word challenges us. Your miracles amaze us. Speak to us today through the mystery of Your action. Amen.