Tuesday, May 11, 2010

THE LAZARUS FACTOR

 A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing


 “Jesus called out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’
The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped
With strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes
and let him go.”
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary,
and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.
But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them
what Jesus had done.”
-John 11:43-46

“So from that day on they plotted to take his life.”
-John 11:53

“Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there
and came, not only because of Him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom He had raised from the dead.
So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,
for on account of him many of the Jews were going over
to Jesus and putting their faith in Him.”
-John 12:9-11

         
          In this stunning passage, we find out things we’ve never considered.  In all our reading about Lazarus and Jesus, have we never considered the Lazarus Factor?  We’ve known that Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead was a prominent miracle.  But has the Holy Spirit illumined in our hearts the deeper meaning here?
          Jesus had to be killed.  This was the crucial conclusion the Jewish High Council, called the Sanhedrin, came to after this great miracle had occurred.  Opening the eyes of the blind, straightening lame limbs, and healing hundreds of their various diseases at a touch was one thing.  But now, the people were at a boil about this man who raised another man from the dead.  Most knew only God could do this, and even many of the Sanhedrin were beginning to believe in Jesus.

          The Lazarus Factor is this:
          The enemies of God will ignore preaching, and teaching, and all kinds of noise from those who follow Christ.  But when any man, in this case Lazarus, dies to himself and his own life and gets resurrected as a New Creation in Christ, then he becomes a deadly threat to those who oppose the Lord Jesus.

          When we have correct doctrine, and a Bible in our hand, and say and do all the right things, and are faithfully religious in our duties to Christ, showing the world an example of
what they accept as a normal “Christian”, then those who oppose Christ shrug their shoulders and go about their business.
          When Jesus gets hold of a man, and this man becomes a true disciple, dying to himself, and living by the resurrection power of Christ within him, then God’s enemies
tremble in fear.  That’s when the enemies of the Cross of Christ panic. 
          For the Kingdom of God is not words, but in power.

          Paul would say later on, about Christ, “He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s power.”  -2 Cor. 13:4.

            This is the Lazarus Factor, and it is the difference between weak and ineffectual religious ‘Christianity’, and the dynamic, powerful testimony of lives transformed in Christ.  After Lazarus experienced resurrection by the power of God, he was a living, breathing testimony of the power of God.  The absolute, Sovereign power of God, because Lazarus had done nothing, and Jesus had done it all.
          The enemies of Christ cared nothing about this country boy Lazarus until he came out of that grave and began living resurrection power. 
          Suddenly, Lazarus was a target, just as dangerous as Jesus Christ, because he was that living, breathing reminder to others that Jesus was God, and that His Word was true.
          Lazarus didn’t have to say anything.  He just lived, and people said, “Wow, look at what the power of God has done!”  And they believed.

          This is our calling.  As true believers in Jesus we are called to die, to fall to the ground and die like kernels of wheat, so that resurrection power may be called forth by the voice of Jesus.  Where was Lazarus when Jesus called his name?  In the tomb, bound hand and foot and head by grave clothes.
          Lazarus couldn’t raise himself, nor could he free himself from the grave clothes.  Jesus ordered those around to help.
          So when Christ calls us forth from our tombs we must help one another take off the old, and put on the new, this New Life in Christ that is all Christ, and none of us.
         
          So, like Lazarus, we become targets of those who are enemies of Christ. Because our lives will finally call others to Christ, and we are living, breathing testimonies of His power, not some doctrine, or belief system, or way of life.

          Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus says the most wonderful thing to us today.  He calls us to become part of the Lazarus Factor:

          “As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.”  -John 15:19

            Resurrection power, not pedantic, unremarkable modern Christianity.  Jesus stands outside the tomb today, calling your name.  Will you come out?

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