By Mark Grace, CCCNZ Ambassador
A, no ka penei tana ki, he nui tona reo ki te karanga, E Raharuhi, puta mai.
Ua ia fetalai atu ia upu, ona alaga lea o ia ua leo tele, Lasalo e, ina sau ia i fafo.
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
By raising Lazarus Jesus was making a statement: death has an expiry date. Why? Because he is the Resurrection and the Life.
Notice something about the story of Lazarus. This is Jesus' most profound miracle. He raises a man from the dead. He brings a person lying in a tomb for four days back to life.
Immediately after Jesus raises Lazarus, the chief priests plot to arrest Jesus. They recognise the magnitude of the miracle. But how much attention does John give this incident? Very little. He almost glosses over it.
As significant as it is, John tells the story very briefly. John takes a single chapter of his book to recount the story of Lazarus, but he takes seven chapters to tell of the 'last hour' of Jesus and his journey to the cross. He knows something bigger is going on. His focus isn't on the miraculous event of Lazarus being raised from the dead; he's focused on Jesus.
The contrasts between the two scenes are poignant:
Jesus calls Lazarus out from death as he himself prepares for his own.
Jesus calls Lazarus from death to life as he himself is called from life to death.
Jesus calls Lazarus out from the tomb as he is preparing for his own.
Jesus quiets the weeping all around him, knowing he is days away from weeping alone.
There's one more contrast that is striking, however. A few pages after John recounts Lazarus' miraculous resurrection, he says, "So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus".
Whether by the hand of the chief priests or by natural causes, Lazarus would have to die again. But Jesus would die once, and live forever. His resurrection was a resurrection to new and eternal life.
At the cross, Jesus was conquering death once and for all. More than that, he was taking away the penalty for my sin and yours. The truth is, Jesus died and rose again for us—so that we might share in his resurrection.
Jesus's death and resurrection is not the same as Lazarus'. In his death and resurrection, he conquered death and sin everywhere. He was raised, never to die again. And his death and resurrection are shared by everyone who hopes in him.
Jesus' death and resurrection are infinitely greater than Lazarus'.
He is the Resurrection and the Life. If we love him and hope in him, we too will rise with him.