39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”
43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”
44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
see the glory of God (v. 40) — referring back to verse 4. With the Jews, it was see first, then believe — Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
Jesus thanks the Father (v. 42) — His prayer was answered before it was even spoken (John 5:19).
You sent Me (v. 42) — Again, Jesus spoke of His one-ness with the Father and that the Father sent Him.
He asked the people to loose Lazarus (v. 44). He could have done it Himself miraculously, but He uses us to accomplish His work.
In the traditional belief of orthodox Jews is held a theory which may shed light on the four days; why the Lord permitted Lazarus to remain buried not for three days, but four days. the tradition asserts the following: after a person dies, the spirit of the dead person lingers about the burial place, waiting to see if there might be a chance to return to the body. But when the countenance changes, and the signs of decomposition appear, then the spirit disappears and goes to its place. Therefore orthodox Jews did not certify the actuality of death till three days were gone, for they said then the countenance changes and after the third day the spirit of the deceased leaves the sepulcher and there is no hope of the dead coming back to life. Now this is a tradition only, but if it was held by the Jews in the days of our Lord, as it probably was, it may explain the reason why Lazarus was not raised on the third day, but on the fourth. — Gaebelein, page 205.
It is striking to note that Christ here did nothing except to say, “Lazarus, come forth.” It was the last great public witness to Christ as the incarnate Word. And, too, it perfectly illustrated the means which God employs in regeneration. Men are raised spiritually, pass from death unto life, by means of the written Word, and by that alone. Providences, personal testimonies, loss of loved ones, deeply as these sometimes may stir the natural man, they never “quicken” a soul into newness of life. We are born again, “not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Peter 1:23). — Pink, page 205-206.
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