The Example of Lazarus [‘It’s About Time,’ cont.]

We are probably all familiar with the story of Lazarus, Jesus’s friend who died. Imagine yourself standing outside the tomb, and Jesus has just arrived. Lazarus has been dead for 3 days now, and “he stinketh.” Now Lazarus died of something; for the sake of our illustration let’s say it was pneumonia. It could have been he had had an accident and had broken his neck, or any of a number of things. But for now, let’s say he died of pneumonia, and has been entombed. What does Jesus have to do in order to raise Lazarus from the dead? Actually there are two things: He has to restore his life (get his heart beating and his brain functioning again, etc.) and heal what caused his death. If Jesus only restored his life, Lazarus would still have pneumonia, and would simply die again. And if Jesus only healed the pneumonia, Lazarus would be nothing more than a pneumonia-free corpse. So Jesus did both. He removed what caused Lazarus’s death, he removed the pneumonia, and gave him life, got his heart pumping again. He does the same for us: at His Crucifixion Jesus removed what causes us death — our inherited sin nature; at His Resurrection He gave us new life, His own.

[excerpted from Practical Christianity]
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