The Raising Of Lazarus

Lou Lotz

Read: John 11:38-46

He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” (v. 43)

The raising of Lazarus is the masterpiece of Jesus’ miracles, and by far the most expensive—it cost him his life. At the outset of his ministry Jesus made wine flow from water, and now he makes blood run warm again in a man dead in a tomb. Death had met its match, and that was the last straw for some of the mourners as they left to tattle to the authorities. “So from that day on they made plans to put him to death” (John 11:53).

Many New Testament miracles show people cooperating with Jesus, so to speak. That is, they have faith, they trust, they take up their mat and walk, they go show themselves to the priests, they fish from the other side of the boat. But Lazarus does nothing to cooperate. He is inert, a corpse. So much for God needing our cooperation. On that day in Bethany God acts alone, intervening in human affairs, doing what only God can do—raise the dead.

The miracles of Jesus are a deep mystery, and God save us from preachers who offer simple explanations to deep mysteries. But this much is true and irrefutable: either this miracle happened, or it didn’t. It has to be one or the other. Some will confess to a lack of confidence in Christ’s ability, or in the Bible’s dependability. But me, I embrace the declaration that was made right there to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Which is it for you?

—Lou Lotz

Lord, increase my faith.