I RETURNED FROM THE DEAD (John 11).
I am Lazarus, the man that had died, and Jesus did the unbelievable! Jesus brought me back from the dead. I became ill and my physical body just gave out. My soul took its flight to the bosom of Abraham. My body was wrapped in burial sheets and committed to the earth. My sisters were in disarray. They just could not make out without me. Even before my spirit left my earthly body, they had send messages to my friend Jesus telling Him about my illness. By the time these messages reached Jesus, I was already dead. Jesus was in no hurry to come and comfort my sisters. He had something quite unbelievable in mind for all of us that were in any way close or related to my family. Through me, Jesus was going to prove His lasting friendship and demonstrate His power over death. The friendship we make with Jesus in this life will continue in the next.
It took two days to find Jesus and another two to have Him come to Bethany, where we lived. Bethany was in Judah and that was risky for Jesus. The Jews had decided to kill Jesus the next time they laid eyes on Him. Against the advice of His closest companions and at the risk of suffering harm, Jesus came to comfort my sisters Martha and Mary. When Martha heard that Jesus had come to be with them, she practically accused Him for my demise and so did Mary. They told Him that if He had been there I would not have died. My sisters were not the only ones that had the wrong idea about me being dead. My friend’s followers were just as confused. But then, they had no way of knowing where I was. The truth of the matter was that I was sleeping comfortably in the bosom of father Abraham. I was not dead, as my sisters believed, nor was I merely slumbering, as the disciples believed. Physically, I was dead all right, but my soul was very much alive. And I knew what was going on between Jesus and my sisters. It saddened me that they did not believe that Jesus could have me return from beyond the grave.
As I stated, I was not dead, only my body was. I saw the outpouring of love and tears by my sisters and friends. And when my friend Jesus began to weep, I was ready to come back myself. Only, it was not in my power to do so. Only Jesus had that power and for a good reason. He was not going to call me back for His own pleasure, but for the purpose of convincing others that His Father in heaven had sent Him into the world. It was for their sake that He had to have me come back. Their faith needed proof that God was at work in my friend Jesus. It was not just the believe that He was the Chosen One, but also that Jesus was the “Resurrection and the Life.” Jesus is that “Bridge” into eternity, especially into heaven. My sisters and my friends were not quite clear on the fact that the resurrection must take place on the earthly side of the grave. They believed in some future resurrection and not in the present. Jesus represented the “Present.” Faith cannot be practiced in the hereafter, but faith must be practiced in the present. To become members of the other world, we must enter, through the door of faith, in the here and now. My friend Jesus was, is and will be that “Door” for all people. That, my sisters and everyone else could only learn by my returning from the dead.
My recall was quite a commotion. Jesus, Himself, was upset and twice groaned in His spirit. He had ordered that they remove the stone that covered my entrance into the world of the living. My sisters and friends refused on the grounds that I no longer smelled like a human being. My friend Jesus insisted, that if they want to see the Glory of God; then, they better move the stone. It was not that Jesus could have flipped the stone with His twinkle of an eye, but He wanted those that were present at my grave participate in glorifying God. He wanted to show everyone that if man does his part, God would do the miracle. Once these earthlings of little faith began to move the stone, Jesus could thank His Father in Heaven for listening to Him and that He now was ready to prove that God indeed had sent His Son. Then Jesus, with a very loud voice as if I was far away, called me by my name and ordered me to come forth. I could do no other, but obey. I, too, had come into the world for a purpose. Through me, God was being glorified and so was my friend Jesus. I was the proof that there is life after death. And that life could be had in my friend Jesus.
My return did bring joy to my sisters and friends. Many began to place their trust in Jesus. Father Abraham was right. Moses and the prophets could not sway the unbelievers, nor could I. Instead, I had made it harder for my friend Jesus, and for myself. Both of us were placed on the hit list of our religious leaders. They hired hit men to dispose of us. They even managed to buy one of my friend’s closest associates for thirty pieces of silver. We had created such fear that the leaders believed Rome would come and take over the country because of us. Within one week, my friend Jesus was hung on a cross just to save the nation from the Romans. He was hung there as a rival to Caesar. But the truth was that they crucified Him to atone for their sins. He became the only “Ransom” for all of us. As for me, my days were numbered. I was too much of a wonder for my world of unbelief. It was incomprehensible for me that my own people, in spite of my resurrection through the “Power of Jesus,” they could not accept Jesus as their legitimate Messiah. But what broke my heart even more, was that they chose Barabbas, a murderer, instead of Jesus the Life-giver. Now, more than ever, I longed to be back in the arms of Abraham and with Jesus, my friend.