MAYBE it's because we just had Easter, or because I just read John 11, but the Raising of Lazarus from the dead is one of the coolest stories in the Bible. I have such a vivid picture in my mind of this powerful scene.

            SOME of the things I find interesting about this event are:

            #1) Jesus intentionally allowed Lazarus to die. Martha and Mary (Lazarus' sisters) asked Him to come and heal their brother and His friend. We know Jesus got their message but chose to ignore it (for a time). Ever feel like you are asking God for something (maybe not life and death like this) and it seems like He is not answering? Let me encourage you today, Martha and Mary felt just that way when they asked for Jesus and He didn't show up until it was too late. Or was it too late? Did Jesus actually show up late or just on time? To our natural way of thinking, Jesus was way, way, too late. Four days late to be specific. When praying to God for something, we must always bear in mind that He is God and not some genie we summon by rubbing a lamp. God does what God wants to do. This is called Sovereignty. We can never dictate or demand God. We ask and trust that He hears and knows what's best for us, and at the right time.

            #2) The shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35, is right there in the midst of this cool, cool story: "Jesus Wept." But this short verse tells us quite a lot about our Lord and Savior. The fact that He was moved by the sight of the tears of Mary and those of the other mourners shows God really cares. God is not just sitting in heaven watching us live our lives like we are on a Truman Show or something like it. He is not casually standing by until we foul everything up so He can swoop down and reprimand us. No, God truly cares about our life; our hurts, heartaches and helplessness. No one was more disturbed at the tomb of Lazarus than Jesus. In John 11:33 it says, "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled." The word "troubled", in the Greek, means to be disturbed or stirred into action. The words "deeply moved" actually means Jesus snorted in anger or spit through His teeth at the sight of the tombs, the mourners, and all the loss from death. Jesus was ticked off at the smell of death, one of our greatest enemies.

            #3) Jesus, in John 11:43, shouted at the tombs "Lazarus, come out." I just love this, especially when you realize that He was actually angry when He called out. I can only imagine how Jesus wanted to call everyone in those graves to come out. What restraint He had. He could only save Lazarus at that time because He was only asked to help Him. I wonder if I was there if I would go to Jesus and ask Him to help one of my friends or loved ones who had passed away?

            #4) When Lazarus came walking out of the tomb, Jesus told some of the bystanders to "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." As I read this verse the other day, those three words just raised off the page for me to see. "Let Him Go." Couldn't you just see a scrawny little kid walking home from school and a couple older kids picking on him and hurting him, until the little guy's BIG brother shows up and says to the bullies, "Let him go!" I think Jesus was saying to that old bully death, "Let them go!", meaning us. The biggest, baddest bully on this playground called earth was death and Jesus just punched it in the face when He called a "living" Lazarus out of this tomb.

            IF the bully death is no match for Jesus, what can He do with the other bullies of life like sickness, injury, debt, etc. Well, I don't know, you're going to have to ask Him yourself.