After teaching first in the Temple and then at the Mount of Olives, some believe that perhaps Jesus spent Wednesday back in Bethany with His friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Traditionally, we remember Mary’s anointing of Jesus on this day.
Jesus loved His friends in Bethany. He loved Mary, and Martha, and Lazarus. But today, let’s remember Lazarus.
Jesus loved Lazarus. It’s right there in black in white, in the inerrant, infallible, Holy Spirit inspired Word of God. Lazarus’ name called out for us in the book of John- the only Gospel writer to record this mighty work that Jesus did for him.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to have Jesus Christ as your beloved friend? Having Him drop in for a chat and a tasty meal prepared by Martha?
Lazarus knew what that was like.
Here he was, just a regular guy, a sinner like the rest of us. But he had a pure, unconditional friendship with the Son of God.
Think about this: Lazarus could offer nothing that Jesus needed. Jesus could offer Lazarus everything. But true friendship isn’t based on favors being traded. It’s based on love, respect, companionship.
How do we love Jesus? Just like that.
Then Lazarus got sick. The sisters sent a message to Jesus- but He waited.
He could have gone. He could have healed Lazarus like He had done for so many others. But He had something greater in store for this one whom He loved.
So He waited, and Lazarus died, was wrapped in grave clothes, and was placed in a tomb where He waited for Jesus for four days.
Then Jesus came. He had the stone moved away from the tomb. He prayed.
And then He called, “Lazarus, come forth!” He said it loudly. But not to wake Lazarus up- God had already done that.
Jesus’ words to Lazarus literally mean, “Lazarus, come this way!” Jesus wasn’t summoning Lazarus from the dead- He was giving His friend a point of reference so that Lazarus could follow the sound of Jesus’ voice and find his way out of the tomb.
John says that Lazarus’ face was wrapped with a cloth, and that he was bound. He couldn’t see in the darkness of the tomb- he needed to know which way to go.
Lazarus knew how it felt to be bound in the grave. He knew the darkness of the tomb.
But Lazarus also knew that the way out of that tomb was to follow the sound of the voice of Jesus, his beloved friend.
And I think we know that, too. We know the feel of those sins that bind us in the darkness of this world. We know how powerless it feels to stumble around not knowing which way to go.
Until we focus on Jesus. Until we let ourselves hear Him calling us. Until we recognize His voice and follow it.
It all begins and ends with loving Jesus, with cultivating a relationship with Him, just like we’ve done with our closest friends.
After all, there is none dearer to us than our Savior.
Are you following His voice today?