This Week’s Focus Passage: John 11:43 ‘He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.’
This Week’s Focus Passage: John 11:43
‘He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.’
There are, actually, three separate occasions, recorded for us in the Scriptures, where our Lord Jesus Christ, performed the miracle of raising to life one who was already dead. And the account of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, found only in the eleventh chapter of John’s gospel account, is actually, the third of these miracles, if we may trust the chronological order supposed by most scholars. The other two, the account recorded of the raising to life of the son of the widow of Nain, recorded in Luke, chapter seven, and the record of the bringing back to life of the daughter of Jairus, which has been recorded for both in Mark, as well as in Luke.
While we have chosen, for our focus passage, a statement from the account given us of the death to life miracle of Lazarus, as found in John’s gospel; we well attempt to follow the generally recognized chronological order of these three wonder miracles, and look first at the case of the son of the widow of Nain; followed by a consideration of that second ‘resurrection;’ namely of the daughter of Jairus, and then to Lazarus.
We may read of the circumstances of the first of these three miracles, as we find it in Luke, the seventh chapter, and verses eleven through fifteen:
And it came to pass soon afterwards, that he went to a city called Nain; and his disciples went with him, and a great multitude. Now when he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, there was carried out one that was dead, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came nigh and touched the bier: and the bearers stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up,
In this Lucan account, we are not advised of any particular reason for our Lord’s going to this city of Nain. Perhaps it is somewhat mysterious to us, even as that event of Christ’s taking a route not usually employed by the Jews, when we are told, in John 4:4, that ‘He [Christ] must needs pass through Samaria,’ when, in fact, most writers acknowledge that this ‘must needs’ passing through Samaria, involved a way not generally taken by the Jews, because they wished to have nothing to do with the Samaritans. We learn, retrospectively, that the ‘must needs’ in the mind of Christ, who is God, was that He would have an encounter with the Samaritan woman as the well of Jacob, and be instrumental in bringing many to a gospel understanding. This may be the same in the case of Nain, we simply are not told why. We can say, freely, that the name of this city, Nain, is not found elsewhere in our Bible. To return to our miracle; Jesus went to a city called Nain; and when He drew near to the gate of the city, He encountered a ‘funeral’ in progress. There was a bier being carried out [a bier is a stand on which a corpse, coffin, or casket containing a corpse is placed to lie in state or to be carried to the grave]. This bier held the body of one dead that was the son, the only son, of his mother. Jesus observed the mother, who was a widow, and had compassion on her, or for her. He exhorted her to ‘Weep not.’ He then went over to the bier, and touched it. When He touched it the bearers stood still. At this point, He addressed His words to this son of the widow of Nain, and said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise! When He had said these words, we are informed, that, ‘he that was dead sat up, and began to speak.’ Wonder of wonders, one that was dead sat up and began to speak. To quote the famous words of Nicodemus, John, chapter 3, How can these things be? Consider the response of the people witnessing these things. What was their response? God hath visited his people, they declared. Surely, He had visited, in the form of a man; the man Christ Jesus, the Son of God. He who is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, had pronounced life over this young man.
Not a word, coming from the lips of the widow of Nain, is recorded for us. We are not told that she uttered one request, that Jesus might do this miracle for her. This is not the case, however, with regard to the daughter of Jairus. This distraught father sought out Jesus. We witness the poignant event; his request, in Mark 5:22:
And there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he falleth at his feet, and beseecheth him much, saying, My little daughter is at the point of death: I pray thee, that thou come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be made whole and live.
Mark and Luke (8:40-42) are in agreement with one another, as they have related this incident; apart from Luke expanding somewhat by stating the age (12 years) of the daughter of Jairus. Both evangelists advise us, however, that she is at the point of death. Both advise of the interruptions that ‘stalled’ Jesus advance to the home of Jairus. And Mark and Luke each relate how that before Jesus had arrived at Jairus’ home, report came that the daughter was dead. They also both report the mockery of the people when He told them that she was not dead, but sleepeth. In both accounts, we are told, they laughed him to scorn. They didn’t believe; they knew she was dead. But as Jesus had responded in the case of the son of the widow of Nain, so here He simply said the word, Arise, and the ‘dead’ arose immediately. Hallelujah!
The third ‘resurrection’ miracle, is the account of the death of Lazarus, the beloved brother of Mary and Martha. Jesus was informed that His beloved friend was sick, yet He tarried for ‘awhile;’ we are told that he abode at that time two days in the place where he was. When He did arrive at Bethany, Lazarus was not only already dead four days, but he had been buried in a tomb. We may read, 11:21, Martha said unto Jesus (reverently, we trust), Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Jesus said unto her, thy brother shall rise again. Martha did not understand, and responded, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day, to which our Lord answered her with His glorious statement concerning just who He was, and is, saying, “Martha, Martha, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live. Jesus made His way from there to the tomb, telling His ‘audience’ to roll away the stone from the tomb. Martha reacted, saying, Lord, by this time the body decayeth [the King James, and others, have here, he stinketh], for he hath been dead four days. After having given thanks to His Father, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth, whereupon, Lazarus, who had been dead four days, came forth.
If we are in Christ, then there was a day, in our own history, when Christ spoke those words unto us, He sent His Holy Spirit to utter those words to us, in the day of His regenerating grace, put your name here, ‘Come forth.’ The day of our regeneration; our being brought to life from the dead. It is inescapable, to say, that if we were once brought to life, it follows that we were once dead; dead in trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:5). But it pleased our Savior to cry unto us, Come forth. God, the Holy Spirit, having regenerated our hearts, through that, made us willing to come unto God, through Christ, in the of His power. Praise God!
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
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