John 11.43-44 cont.
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.”
Without apparently entering the tomb, Jesus commanded Lazarus to come out. We are not told how Mary and Martha, and the other mourners would have reacted to this command.
That they all knew that Jesus had extraordinary power is a certainty, because most, if not all of them, had witnessed His amazing power to heal people. If they had not personally witnessed His miracles (which John calls signs), they would have known about His reputation to heal. Many would have been aware that He had recently raised the dead, but what Jesus said was on a new level, as Lazarus had been dead for four days. As we have seen decomposition would have set in, due to the hot conditions. Therefore, there may have been some fear that if Jesus had the power to raise the dead, and if Lazarus came back to life, his appearance may have been grotesque.
Jesus did not question what anyone may have been thinking; instead He issued the command to Lazarus to come out of the tomb. As far as we have the narrative, Jesus did not speak life into the body of Lazarus. He appears to have only issued the simple command for Lazarus to quit the tomb. This was enough for Lazarus to come to life and emerge from his tomb. It was a command that would counteract any decomposition.
The commands that Jesus issues to us are short and to the point. Do we hear them, and do we respond to them in the same way as Lazarus did?
The command of Jesus to the disciples was very simple; all He said was ‘Come follow after Me’ – Mark 1.17. At that point the disciples had a choice: either they left their former way of life and followed Jesus, or they remained in the security of an occupation that paid their bills and enabled them to look after their families.
The first way was the way of a new and exciting adventure with Jesus. The second choice would have been to remain entombed in the ways of this world, and so miss out on the new life that Jesus would lead them in to.
The first choice was to leave the tomb that they were in; the second choice was to do as Lazarus did and to come out of that tomb.
What about us?
Are we in a tomb, even of our own making? Is Jesus calling us out of what we are in so that we might walk with Him into a new vision and adventure that He has for us?
Let us all consider in what ways Jesus is saying to us: ‘Come out’?