“So, they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’” (John 11:41-42)
Jesus already had prayed for life to come back into Lazarus. He was aware of the whole picture all the way back to the moment He heard of Lazarus’ sickness. He “knew” His prayer was answered and now prays aloud for the benefit of the crowd that they might come to trust Him. He wants then to know the power of their God – God, the Father, to whom He prays. If Jesus can bring Lazarus back to life what does that say about life after death for everyone who trusts Him?
Death – eternal separation from God – is no more because of Jesus. Our physical death is simply a door through which we pass on our way to being with Him forever. Raising Lazarus is a sign of Jesus’ power to hold us eternally. Where He is, and with whom He is, is the realization of Eternal Life with God. This Eternal Life is timeless. Our Eternal Life is now, because we trust Jesus with our life now and into eternity. This we believe assuredly.
Heavenly Father, when Your Son raised Lazarus from the dead, we were given a foretaste of Eternal Life with You. Death was our greatest enemy which has been defeated completely by Your Son. There is no remnant of death for we who trust Him. Death has lost its sting for us because of Jesus. Victory over death is assured for us because of Jesus. Alleluia! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.