Lazarus Raised: A Picture Of God's Saving Grace  

John 11:43-44


     There are many pictures of grace in the Bible, by which God illustrates the gospel message of salvation by grace alone. One of the most instructive of these pictures is the resurrection of Lazarus. Read John 11 and 12, and note these five things about Lazarus:

     HIS CONDITION (11:4) - Lazarus was dead. That is the state of all human beings by nature, spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins, incapable of either knowing or changing their condition (Rom. 5:12).

     HIS CALLING (11:43) - When the Lord Jesus cried, "Lazarus, come forth," the dead man arose to life. There is a general call which goes out to all men when the gospel is preached. But this was not a general call! It was a personal, particular, powerful call, irresistible, effectual and distinguishing. The only way any sinner will ever be saved is if the Son of God, by the power of his Spirit, calls him from death to life. And all who are called by him do live (John 5:25).

     HIS CONVERSION (11:44) - Once he was called, Lazarus was converted. His conversion was both immediate and gradual. He was immediately changed from death to life. But he was gradually freed from his "grave clothes". And sinners saved by grace are immediately transformed into a new creation (II Cor. 5:17). But throughout our lives we are being saved, gradually, from the "grave clothes" of sin, unbelief, and self-righteousness (II Cor. 7:1).

     HIS COMMUNION (12:1-2) - Soon after his resurrection Lazarus is found sitting at the table with his Savior. You will notice that the house and the table belonged to Lazarus, but the Master of the house was Christ. Lazarus surrendered all to his Lord! (Read Lk. 14:25-33). The believing, surrendered heart is the heart with which Christ holds sweet communion.

     HIS CONFLICT (12:9-11) - Because of Lazarus many others believed. But the Jews sought to kill him. Why? Because he had been raised from the dead! This is the last we hear of Lazarus. His life with Christ was a life of unceasing conflict in this world. And all who believe will find it so with them (John 16:33).


Don Fortner