Are You Waiting For Lazarus?
"Jesus said, 'Take away the stone.' Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, 'Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.'" John 11:39 The scene is at the graveyard where Mary and Martha's brother Lazarus was buried in a cave. Jesus told the attendants to roll back the huge stone that covered the entrance. Imagine what they must have thought when he told them to roll the stone away! In fact, Martha told him that Lazarus has been dead now for four days and if they roll back the stone there's going to be a stench, especially after four days of Middle Eastern heat. But they rolled back the stone, and were totally unprepared for what Jesus was going to do next. Not in their wildest dreams… vs 41: "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, 'Father, I thank you that you have heard me.'" Four days before, when someone had been sent to Jesus asking him to come because his friend Lazarus was sick, Jesus waited four long days before going. Mary and Martha were appalled that he didn't come when they called for him, because they knew it was crucial that he come NOW, because Lazarus was dying. But Jesus did ONLY what the Father directed him to do, and the Father directed him to WAIT. Have you expected Jesus to show up - yet it was as though he hadn't heard you? When God says "wait," you can expect something greater than the request you had put in. Jesus knew there was a greater result coming than the desired healing of Lazarus. After four days Jesus showed up. And everyone was watching: Can you imagine the wonder… vs 43: “Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” They watched, and waited ...and then: vs 44: "And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave-clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Loose him, and let him go.'” "LOOSE HIM ..." Salvation is a supernatural miracle in every person who comes to the Lord, in every one who has been brought out of darkness into the light of Christ. Every person who is born again has been taken out of death and brought into new life. He saves us - then he looses us from what has bound us. The miracle of salvation doesn't stop there. After Lazarus was brought out of death into life, out of darkness into light, there was more - Jesus said, "Loose him and let him go." When a person has been walking in the world for a long time, when he has lived in sin, he needs more than just salvation. He needs to be loosed, to be set free from those things that controlled him, and this miracle is as great as the first. Many of us have been praying for a long time for loved ones to come to the Lord and be saved, and we've learned only too well that our arguments with them are not able to bring them in. But when the prayer is answered, then we know we've seen a miracle, for the grace of repentance is a supernatural gift from God, and is not the result of OUR efforts to persuade them. Only God can bring them in, and he knows the best time and place and circumstances needed to bring them into his Kingdom. He knows HOW to best approach them. He knows what they will respond to, and what they will not. While waiting - TRUST him! One of the greatest things one can witness in life is to see how a newly born-again person's life changes drastically. The things of his former life pass away, and everything becomes new. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 Friends, when you pray for the salvation of a loved one, don't stop there. Pray for the grace of repentance, and ask for the total restoration of the sinner. Ask that he/she be loosed from the grave clothes that had kept him bound. And prepare yourself to witness a miracle.