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Daily Reading: 1st February 2015

John 11.43-44

43  And saying these things He cried out with a loud voice: “Lazarus, come out.”

44 The one who had died and had been bound hands and feet with grave clothes, and his face bound with a napkin came out. Jesus said: “Untie him and let (release) him go.”

It is interesting to note that having arrived at the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus did not enter it. Martha had supposed that He might want to go in to the tomb to look upon the face of His friend one last time.

However, Jesus remained at the entrance and began to pray. As we have seen it was a brief prayer. Jesus followed this with a loud voice of command to Lazarus to come out of the tomb (the word translated as loud is the word for great; therefore, it was with a great voice that Jesus called to Lazarus).

Nowhere else is this word (great/loud) attributed to Jesus. He had raised others from the dead, but we do not read of Jesus having to raise His voice. In raising the daughter of Jairus Jesus seems to have spoken in a gentle way – “Child, get up” – Luke 8.54.

On the occasion when Jesus raised the son of a widow from Nain, Jesus went up to the coffin, touched it and said: “Young man, I say to you: “Rise up”  – Luke 7.14.

On neither of these occasions is it suggested that Jesus spoke out with a loud or great voice.

Therefore, why did He do so when calling Lazarus from the tomb?

John has not told us why on this occasion Jesus should raise His voice to command Lazarus to come out of the tomb.

From our own experience we know that there are times when a gently voice is all that is needed to awaken someone from sleep, but we also know that if a person is in a deep sleep then it may be necessary to shout at them to arouse them from their slumbers.

We can be thankful that Jesus calls to all of us while we are in the death of sin. Some respond to His gentle voice and come to receive Him as Lord and Saviour. However, others need a loud shout from Him to awaken them from their sleep walking in the death of sin, so that they can be raised to walk with Him in His new and resurrected life.

In all circumstances let us tune our ears to hear the command of Jesus to leave our life of sin and walk with Him in the light of His word.

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