John 11:43, 44 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth around his face. . .
We all know the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. If you've forgotten, go back and read the account in John 11. Jesus found out that his friend Lazarus was sick but He decided to tarry until his friend died. There are lots of things we don't always understand about how God operates, aren't there? Who knows?! Maybe there were some things in Lazarus that needed to die. Maybe Jesus wanted to show the compassion and the power of God in a dead situation. Probably some of both. But anyhow, isn't it quite amazing? There are several things I'd like to lift out of this story. First of all, it's not a fairy tale. It really happened to real people. Second, the story shows something about our makeup as human beings. We're not just an intricate pile of bones and flesh and all the other absolutely amazing parts of the human body physically put together so as to function in unbelievable ways. Lazarus was dead, four days dead, stinking dead--the Jews don't embalm. And yet, Lazarus heard Jesus' voice and responded to it. That surely says that we're way beyond just this body we live in. There is life beyond the grave. There is life beyond the bodies we live in. Who is the real you? And third, there is no place too dead, too stinking that the voice of God cannot be heard. And all of this gives us hope. It lays a real solid foundation for our faith. And there's one final thing I notice. God cares! Big Creator, omnipotent, omnipresent, all-powerful, all-knowing. God cares. Tiny piece of dust, God-formed, God-breathed, is still breathing over us.
But now, this is what the LORD says--he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. . . (Isaiah 43:1-3). Yes, He was speaking to Israel, but He is also speaking to me, to everyone who responds to His name. He knows my name. He knows your name.