The Foreshadowing Miracle

Read: John 11:17-44

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.” (v. 44)

Death can feel like a cruel captor, the final captor, separating the living and the dead.

The passage just before today’s reading tells us that Jesus knew his friend Lazarus was dying. Yet Jesus deliberately delayed coming to Lazarus in time to provide a cure. Lazarus’s sister Mary was brutally blunt: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (v. 21). The grief of Lazarus’s sisters, Mary and Martha, as well as Jesus’s own grief, was great. In verse 33, the Greek verb tarassō, used here of Jesus’s response,means “stirred or troubled in both a physical and mental sense.”

Jesus knows there is something wrong about death. Lazarus’s body was in a cave, and a stone covered the opening. Lazarus was really dead, had been dead for four days. But Jesus issued his command to Lazarus’s corpse: “Lazarus, come out” (v. 43). And he did, bound hand and foot in his wrappings.

This is the rehearsal. A preparation for the curtain that is about to open on the greatest miracle of all. But see in this moment that, as you can trust Jesus in life, you can trust him to bring life from death.

As you pray, consider what life would be like without fear of death. Ask Jesus to help you find that life in him.

About the Author

Fred Van Dyke is a conservation biologist dedicated to the care for God’s creation. In this role Fred has served government agencies, private consulting firms, and academic institutions doing research, management, and teaching in conservation science. He is also the author of two books on faith and environmental stewardship.

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the series The Miracles of Jesus