Symbolization: Raising Lazarus from a Deep Sleep

Original Entry Date 10/14/2016: I’ve always had a great fondness for the book of John. It is full of so much Spiritual revelation! Well, all of the Bible is full of revelation but there is just something about this book that really touches my heart. Maybe it is because it is much different in comparison to the synoptic Gospels and gives a different view of Christ Jesus. Are there any books in the Bible that you feel a similar way about? Do tell, please.

Anyhow, let’s do some reading from the book of John, specifically the death of Lazarus. News has just reached Jesus that a beloved friend of His, Lazarus, had fallen deathly ill. Obviously, by sending such news to Jesus, one would think He would rush over to heal His dear friend, but He does not. He purposely waits two more days.

John 11:18 NIV:

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

Up next, Jesus, reveals the motif of what this miracle will represent.

John 11:9-11 NIV:

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

We were all in a deep spiritual sleep before Christ came to us and awakened us to the Light. Even though there may be times that we have to walk in the darkness of night, we now have Christ Jesus as our Light upon the path. Jesus is going to “wake” up Lazarus just as He comes and wakes up those who are spiritually dead.

John 11:12-27 NIV:

His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

In verse 25 Jesus states the next step that must be taken by the person so that He may awaken them from their spiritual sleep; that is BELIEF. Also, take note, same verse, we must BELIEVE to live and we must LIVE by BELIEVING. We must believe in Christ Jesus as well as live a life that proves our beliefs.

John 11:28-39 NIV

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

Here is a beautiful picture of a spiritually dead heart (symbolized by the tomb, a heart hardened and closed off just like the tomb is closed by the giant stone) being opened by the command of Jesus. This heart of stone will be made into something new.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

John 11:41-43 NIV:

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
 
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Those who are watching will be witness to Gods miraculous life-giving power of salvation as they see you change and transform. 

The final point I want to share with you is in verse 43. Jesus calls Lazarus by name just as HE will call out for us by name when He is waking us.

Isaiah 43:1

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.

Since He calls us by name He knows us by name, which is a symbol of devotion just like He had with Moses.

Exodus 33:17 HCSB:

The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”

We have been awakened into the realm of the Spirit because we HEAR His voice and we KNOW His voice. Verse 44 illustrates this by Lazarus hearing Jesus calling his name and then coming out of the grave. To hear and to know His voice means that we belong to Jesus and He will lead us.

John 10:2-4 NKJV:

2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

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