I love John 11:43 in the original Greek Text. Before I share why I love it, let’s go back to the beginning of the story.
On the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, approximately two miles east of Jerusalem, and on the road to Jericho, sat the little town of Bethany, home of the family Jesus deeply loved…Lazarus and his two sisters Mary and Martha.
When Lazarus became gravely ill, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
When Jesus heard that, He did not leave but stayed where He was for two more days.
Jesus told the disciples that Lazarus was dead and added, “For your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”
When they neared Bethany, they learned that Lazarus had been buried four days before.
Martha heard that Jesus was on the outskirts of town and went out to meet Him. “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha thought that Jesus meant Lazarus would rise again in the last day resurrection.
Explaining, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
She answered, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Martha then went to get Mary and said, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” Mary jumped up and ran to find Jesus. Finding Him, she fell down at His feet, weeping and said to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw the tears streaming down her face and heard the cries of the other mourners with her, He groaned in His spirit. (Groaned in Greek usually means to be angry or indignant, or to reprove severely, as violent agitation of mind. Here, He was deeply disturbed at seeing the sorrow of others.)
He was troubled, and when they took Him to Lazarus’ tomb, the depth of His sorrow became evident, for “Jesus wept.”
Jesus told some of the men to remove the stone from the entrance to the tomb. Martha said, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
Here is my favorite verse, my life’s verse, “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?’” (v40 Amp)
As they rolled away the stone, Jesus lifted His eyes and prayed. (Now, we come to the verse I mentioned at the beginning.) Then, as most Bible versions say, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” He yelled out, as it says in the Greek, in a megas voice.
When you look up the Greek definitions, Jesus actually yelled, “Lazarus! Here! Outside!” Can’t you just see Jesus pointing His finger at the tomb and then at the ground, stomping His foot, and commanding in great resolution and power for Lazarus to come out and join Him?
However, what we fail to realize is that when Jesus stood before all the tombs that day, He had to yell, “Lazarus!” If He had not, every one of the bodies buried there would have come out with him!
So, out hobbled Lazarus, wrapped head to foot in his burial cloths. Jesus said to those around Him, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Jesus loves each one of us just as much as He loved Lazarus. He weeps that death separates us from Him without His salvation. He gives us a Lazarus-call, beckoning us to come out of our darkness into His Light, to remove our grave-clothes and be free, and to see the glory of God.
When we hear His call, do we stay in our darkened tomb, wrapped in our stinking death clothes, or do we shed them and come out to join the Light of Life? Do we see God glorified?
***Scripture from NKJV (John 11:1-43) unless otherwise noted. A dusted off rerun from 4/28/10.