The colloquial phrase, “The greatest come back since Lazarus” remains in use today. It may be used by a commentator, or reporter in the sports media to describe a seemingly miraculous turnaround by a competitor or team facing defeat during a sporting event only to overcome enormous odds to pull off a win.
The phrase comes from the account of the miraculous raising of Lazarus by Jesus described in chapter 11 of John’s gospel. Allow me to encourage you to read it this Easter.
Just imagine Lazarus, who had died and had been in the tomb for four days, could have been among the crowd that had gathered a few days later for the Passover festival and celebrated Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem by waving a palm branches and shouting,
“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!”
This same Lazarus, was dead is now alive fully participating in life once again.
The stone blocking the entrance was removed and in response to the call of Jesus, in a loud voice,“Lazarus, come out!” Lazarus emerged from the tomb. His hands and feet were still wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth remained around his face. Lazarus had emerged still bound in his grave clothes.
The raising of Lazarus doesn’t stop there, Jesus said to crowd, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
While the account of the raising of Lazarus is a forerunner of the death and resurrection of our Saviour Jesus it is also descriptive of our own “death” and “resurrection” experience when we were baptised into Christ.
In Colossians chapter 2 the Apostle Paul explains that we were buried with Christ in baptism and wereraised with him through faith in the working of God who raised Christ from the dead.
Now Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, and the crowd of mourners were engaged by Jesus to set Lazarus free of the grave clothes that were still holding him back.
In a similar fashion Jesus calls us forth to be born again, to become a new person however, the grave clothes of past hurts, misunderstandings, misconceptions, misinformed expectations and unforgiveness can hold us back. Jesus wants us to walk in our new-found freedom of the new birth and so he engages other believers to gather around, to nurture and to help remove the grave clothes of the past so that we can walk in the fullness of our freedom in Christ.
The miraculous events of Easter declare the amazing work of God, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
The raising of Lazarus is a story of hope. The Easter events contain a message of hope. The Christian message is a message of hope.
This Easter ask the question, “Is there anything that is holding me back from experiencing the fullness of the new life God has given me?” Ask, “If God can perform a miracle for me personally what would it be, what would it look like?” and ask God to bring across your path someone who can help, someone who will listen to your story and help you unwrap the grave clothes that are holding you back. Finally ask them to pray with you for the miracle that God wants to bring about.