It was a command that Jesus gave to Lazarus (Jn.11: 43). He also said, “It is finished,” but that was in reference to the completion of His work (Jn.19: 30). The command, “Lazarus, come forth” is a reference for us, for you and for me. It demonstrates God’s power over our death. Death cannot hold us against God’s orders. Easter without Lazarus could keep us stranded in the place of the dead. The return of Lazarus to the living is proof that death cannot separate us from the love God has for us in Christ.
Why did Jesus pick Lazarus to demonstrate His power over death? Lazarus was Jesus’ friend that is why He went to wake him up (Jn.11: 11). It is not enough to believe in Jesus but one must also be a friend to Jesus. It is a friend that is willing to lay down his life. A friend also does what a friend commands or asks (Jn.15: 13-14). Only a friend like Peter comes back for his second chance to be a true friend and answers three times with friendship (phileo) (Jn.21: 15-19). A friend familiarizes himself with his friend’s ideas, needs and even voice. When the time comes and the Lord commands, “Come Forth!” we shall recognize His voice instantly and obey. “Behold, I stand at (your or my) door and knock: if any person hear my voice, and opens the door, I will come in, and will eat with him or her and they with me” (Rev.3: 20). It is when we open our hearts that He becomes our friend and we His.
Jesus assured His followers that He would call them and us. “Surely, surely, I say to you, the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (Jn.5: 25, 28-29). No one shall resist the voice of God and everyone shall “Come Forth!” These are Jesus’ most powerful words directed at us.