Lazarus, come out.

So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth.

Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."

The scene has been set and the stone has been removed. I once heard it said that every grave would have been opened if Jesus had not called Lazarus by name. That may be a stretch but it speaks to the Lord's power over death. Consider what the resurrected Christ spoke to John on the Isle of Patmos in the opening chapter of the book of Revelation:
“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
I stood at the side of my dying wife Ellen and watched her take her last breath. I prayed with everything in me that she would be raised from death and she yet lay silent. There is a finality to death - few have ever come back from its clutches. Yet we understand that Lazarus was raised because Jesus knew that it was not God's will for him to remain dead.

Can it even enter your mind what it must have been like to witness Lazarus walk from that grave? The closest I have come was when my wife Ann was removed from a ventilator about a month ago. I am moved to tears as I remember it - everything changed that day. Yet some will refuse to rejoice because of a Pharisaic tendency to discount what the Lord has done.

Lord, with Mary, Martha and Lazarus I rejoice today at the gift of life.

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