Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out.
Devotion based on John 11:43,44
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It is only a matter of time before you will find yourself standing next to the grave of a Christian you love dearly. As you do, you may feel many things. Many reflections may enter your mind. Besides memories and emotions, however, consider the moment when Jesus also stood next to a grave.
In John chapter 11, Jesus is standing next to the grave of his dear friend, Lazarus. Lazarus has recently died from an illness. His family has buried his body. John describes the tomb as a cave with a stone laid across the entrance (John 11:38). The sheer grief of his friend’s death has moved Jesus to tears. Take away the stone, Jesus says. After some hesitation, obedient hands take the stone away. Following a fervent prayer to his heavenly Father, Jesus calls out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The apostle John then records what happens next: The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
All of which brings us to the next time you find yourself standing next to the grave of a Christian who is near and dear to you. In John chapter 5, God’s Word tells us that a moment is coming when the mortal remains of your loved one will hear the voice of Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life. Those mortal remains will arise, reunited with the soul. And from that point onward, that child of God, body and soul, freed from the presence and effects of sin, will bask forever in the glories of eternal life.
Think of it. The voice of the one who said, I am the resurrection and the life; the voice of the one who proclaimed our sins paid in full when he cried out, It is finished, from the cross; the voice of the one who promised, Because I live, you also will live—that same voice will one day call for you and me. And all will be well.
Lord Jesus, move me to hear your voice through your Word and sacrament. And move me to rejoice in the day your voice calls me home. Amen.
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