When He (Jesus) had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." John 11:43-44
Twenty-three-year-old North Carolinian Shelly Cawley was having a baby. That's the good news.
The bad news is that Cawley didn't wake up from the emergency Caesarean that was performed on her. Immediately before surgery, she had been talking to the doctors and nurses. Obviously nervous, her thoughts became dark as she shared how she was afraid she wasn't going to wake up.
The surgery went well enough, but Cawley didn't wake up.
She didn't wake up the day of the surgery or the day after. Five days, six days, seven days slipped by and Cawley seemed to be slipping more deeply into her coma. It would not be an exaggeration to say the doctors had not thought there was a possibility they might lose her entirely.
That was when the nurses thought why not place her new baby, Rylan, on her chest. Believing that her survival depended on her willingness to struggle, they thought this might give her something to fight for. They thought hearing her baby might reach her and thereby do what medicine had not been able to do.
It did. Rylan cried and Shelly opened her eyes to begin the healing journey to reclaim her life.
That's a beautiful story, but it cannot compare with that of the Savior standing before the tomb of His friend, Lazarus. Jesus had wept tears for the man, but others had done the same. Then Jesus did something only God's Son could do. He shouted for Lazarus to come out.
It worked! At Jesus' cry, Lazarus came back to life and shuffled out of his grave.
The most amazing thing of all is this: the day is going to come when Jesus will bring back to life all who have died with faith in Him. Yes, He will reanimate everyone, but those who believe will awaken changed and headed for everlasting glory with their Savior.
And if you thought there was happiness when Cawley woke up or when Lazarus walked out of the tomb -- brother, sister, you ain't seen nothing yet. St. Paul said it better than I ever could:
"When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we give thanks for life. For the life we enjoy here on earth, we are grateful. For the life we will enjoy with You forever, we give thanks most of all. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries