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Life has a way of making its mark on all of us. We may have good memories or some we would refer to forget. Many people have problems with the way they see themselves. Some may have too high an opinion of themselves whereas others can suffer from poor self esteem—a low self image or inferiority complexes than can be crippling.

Unless God intervenes and changes things, we can take them to the grave with us and never reach their full potential, become bitter and twisted, or miss out on the blessing God has for them.

Regardless of where you fit, you do not have to remain that way! God has a plan for your life.

Let the man go is a story that can change your life. It is a real-to-life account found in John chapter eleven and it is based on Lazarus and his two sisters. We shall explore the story verse-by-verse... 

This story could be about You!

And a certain one was sick. John 11:1

You are a “certain” person.

Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 to have honest appraisals of ourselves and not to have an exaggerated opinion, but it is equally as true to avoid having too poor an opinion of yourself. The attitude of not feeling important and insignificant is wrong. It does God an injustice because He thinks very highly of you. He sent Jesus to die for you, so you are important to Him.

You are not a nobody—You are a somebody. You are someone special to God.

When Jesus said that the very hairs on your head are numbered, He was not referring to a running count of how many numerically. If one falls out, it is easy to simply update the count, but that could be very impersonal. God knows which one fell out, not how many you have left!

Close analysis of the passage indicates that God wanted to ensure we knew that He was talking about one individual, unique person. John continued:
His name was El‘azar, and he came from Beit-Anyah, the village where Miryam and her sister Marta lived. (This Miryam, whose brother El‘azar had become sick, is the one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) John 11:1-2

It was “that” Lazarus who lived in Bethany. To ensure we knew who it was, It was “that” Lazarus who had a sister called Maria—and a sister called Miryam—and it was “that” Miryam who anointed Jesus with oil.

Names have meaning. Eleazar means God is our helper.
It is derived from El that means God and  Azar that means  surround, protect or aid.

The apple of His eye

According to the Tanakh, Zechariah 2:12 states that Jerusalem is the apple of God’s eye, or the pupil in his own eye. Apparently this refers to a student or disciple and the inference is that God desires to have such a close, personal and intimate relationship with us, it is as if he wants to get so close and look us in our eye, that He can see His own reflection in the pupil of our eye.

Interestingly, if we look at the meanings, the word pupil may also represent a student, or a disciple!

If this is true, then intimacy of relationship is paramount. Many people know about God,  but do not Know God! The word know in the original describes the most deep, personal and intimate relationship two individuals may have. The Greek word is ginōskō  and part of its meaning speaks of intimacy in marriage. An example is seen in Genesis 4:1 that states Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived.

Jesus said in John 17:3:

And eternal life is this: to know you, the one true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah.

God knows everything about you and is very interested in all that you are and do.

You are the apple of His eye. 

God has A Special Plan forYou!

Because of that intimacy and because each of us is a unique and special individual, God has a unique and special plan that is tailor-made for us. Whilst we are all individuals in our own right, we each fit into different “positions” or “places” in the Body of Christ, using the human body as an example in 1 Corinthians 12:12-19 or Ephesians 4.

Jeremiah said that God has a special, good  plan in Jeremiah 29:11.

We must of course find out what that plan is. That is another topic to be shared elsewhere and when we do, to fully embrace it and enter into it and to render some assistance now, the following may help.

# Sick:

A man named Lazarus was sick John 11:1

On face value, this is a simple statement. We know that Lazarus was someone special and have elaborated on that earlier, but despite all that, he was sick. Sickness is a part of life. It is part of the dying process caused by the introduction sin, but Jesus dealt with the sin problem.

Healing is part of His ministry and it should be part of our ministry today. It is part of His command to us in what we call the great commission. We shall not delve into the healing ministry too much here, other than to say we need not accept sickness as often as we do.

We shall however state that sickness and poverty are not sent by God to teach us lessons. The word of God teaches us. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, describing Him as the Spirit of truth, stating that He teaches us truth. Whilst we may learn things from our experiences in life, they are not the things that teach us.

According to the original language, this sickness was a mild form of ailment, coming from the word Astheneō.  

We do not know what it was, but perhaps may illustrate this as describing it like a common cold or perhaps influenza.

# Apostello:

So the sisters sent to Him, saying, Lord, he whom You love [so well] is sick.  John 11:3

It is at this point, we should briefly look at apostleship. When the two sisters sent a messenger to Jesus, they were in essence sending someone on a specific assignment.

In simple terms, this is what apostleship means. An apostle is a messenger, or an ambassador appointed by someone else to fulfil a specific assignment. A country may appoint a person to represent that country elsewhere and that person is an ambassador who carries out specific duties to represent his or her own country. On taking up office, they have certain credentials that authenticate their position.

Apostles carry such letters of credential or letters of office. No man or organisation can thus appoint a person to such an office. Only the Lord Jesus can do that.

Much misunderstanding exists concerning the appointment of such people. It is often said that apostles and prophets no longer exist because the church has now been established and the bible has been written etcetera but the bible does not say that. Their roles and functions may differ slightly perhaps, but their ministries, such as seen in Ephesians chapter four, are of vital importance today to bring the church to full maturity and unity. Clearly, that condition has not yet been reached.

The gospel accounts reveal that Jesus had many disciples and followers (Paul said that there were more than 500 brethren in his letter to the church at Corinth) and from that group of people, Jesus chose twelve who he called apostles.

There were what we call “foundational apostles” such as those twelve. Paul was another, but the New Testament reveals that there were others. The same thing applies to prophets. Many people were specifically named so we cannot discount the validity of others with the belief that Jesus had only twelve and a few others.

I urge you to conduct your own investigation into this matter.

Mary and Martha sent unnamed person on a specific assignment and this illustrates the role and function of modern-day apostles. They must be genuinely appointed by the Lord however and to illustrate this, please refer to  Matthew 7:21-23.

# Astheneia:

In verse four, when Jesus received the news, He said:

This sickness will not end in death for Lazarus, but will bring glory and praise to God.
This will reveal the greatness of the Son of God by what takes place.

The word He used there was different to the word used when Mary and Martha sent someone to Him. The “minor” ailment had changed to a malady—a terminal condition.

As we shall see shortly, this happened extremely quickly, possibly as soon as the messenger departed on his journey. Jesus know this. He later told the disciples that Lazarus was sleeping, but they misunderstood. He then told them plain langauge that Lazarus was dead.

# 2 days:

The bible often gives great detail concerning timing. There had to have been a meaning.

Genesis 1 states that the earth was formless, unformed and an empty wasteland full of chaos and confusion.

In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.
And the earth came to be formless and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters.

And Elohim said, “Let light come to be,” and light came to be.
And Elohim saw the light, that it was good. And Elohim separated the light from the darkness.
And Elohim called the light ‘day’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the first day. Genesis 1:1–5

The words in bold text have meanings like misery, pain and destuction. They are
tōhû, bōhû and ḥōšek.

God commanded the light to be and divided the light from the dark. It was called “the dark”.

He called them day and night and it was the first day. The sun and the moon and stars were created on the 4th day.

On the second day, God created the firmaments and divided them.The Hebrew word is bādal and it means make a difference, divide, separate, sever. The number 2 indicates that a separation or a difference has happened or is about to happen.

# Jesus’ ministry took on a new emphasis:

Six days before the Passover began, Jesus went back to Bethany, the town where he raised Lazarus from the dead.
They had prepared a supper for Jesus. Martha served, and Lazarus and Mary were among those at the table.
Mary picked up an alabaster jar filled with nearly a liter of extremely rare and costly perfume—the purest extract of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet. Then she wiped them dry with her long hair. And the fragrance of the costly oil filled the house. But Judas the locksmith, Simon’s son, the betrayer, spoke up and said,  “What a waste! We could have sold this perfume for a fortune and given the money to the poor!” (In fact, Judas had no heart for the poor.
He only said this because he was a thief and in charge of the money case. He would steal money whenever he wanted from the funds given to support Jesus’ ministry.)

Jesus said to Judas, Leave her alone! She has saved it for the time of my burial. You’ll always have the poor with you; but you won’t always have me. John 12:1-8

It would appear that Jesus changed the emphasis of His ministry.

Up to that time, He had been ministering as usual, preaching, teaching, healing the sick and so on, but now he was being drawn back to Jerusalem and the cross.

Six days had elapsed during the Peach (Passover) festival that lasts for seven days in Israel, Jesus attended that meal. Calvary was now close.

At that point, something was lacking in the relationship Mary and Martha had with Jesus as we shall see later. It was after Jesus raised Lazarus, when their experience changed. Later, Mary anointed Him with oil!

# Abiding:

Yeshua loved Marta and her sister and El‘azar; so when he heard he was sick, first he stayed where he was two more days; John 11:5-6

The account says that He loved them. It does not state that they similarly reciprocated, but there must have been some form of relationship. God loves us all, but we do not all return that love.
When He received the news, He deliberately waited.

He abode (Menō) in that place. The word used for a physical location is usually Topos that is a geographical position. The Lord stayed in a physical, geographical location, but He had an attitude, condition or state of existence—not moved by circumstances as seen in Psalm 16:8 and Acts 2:25 etcetera.

# Lazarus died:

El‘azar has died.

“And for your sake I am glad I was not there, in order for you to believe.
But let us go to him.” John 11:14-15

He told them the delay was for their benefit—so that they would believe...

Much of this acount is about belief. As we shall see later, everyone had problems with their belief structure.

# Distance & Timing:

Bethany was about 2 miles or 3 kilometers from Jerusalem.

Herb Elliot, the Olympic runner set a new record when he ran one mile in under four minutes, so he may have taken less than 1/4 hour for that journey.

Was there a specific reason for Jesus’ deliberate delay?

The number 4:

Allow 1 day for the messenger to arrive; 2 days delay and 1 day for Jesus to return.

If Lazarus had been dead for 4 days, he probably died when the messanger departed and in accordance with burial practices, interred on the first day.

In scripture, the number 4 takes on several meanings.

  • It is the number of creation comprising earth, air, fire and water.
  • There are 4 points in the compass—north, south, east and west.
  • There are 4 divisions of the day—morning, noon, evening and midnight.
  • Jesus spoke of His coming at evening, midnight, cock-crowing, or in the morning in Mark 13:35.
    We are never to put off His coming in our minds beyond to-morrow morning.
  • There are 4 seasons of the year—spring, summer, autumn and winter.
  • There are 4 variations of the lunar phases.

In Genesis 2:10-11, the one river of Paradise was parted, to form four heads, and “the fourth river is Euphrates.

The number 4 also speaks of division. For the river was “parted.”

Jesus was about to create something new—to divide sin from us

Some people believed that the soul hovered near the deceased for three days after death and then returned to God. If no signs of life were evident, the person was declared deceased.
There was no doubt that Lazarus had died and raised from the dead.

# Relationship:

We need to look at their relationship with Jesus. At that point, it was not as good as it could have been.

When Jesus arrived, Martha went to Him, but Mary stayed behind. There may have been “valid reasons” as follows and to do that, let us look at some Jewish customs.

Life and death General approach Care for the dead Respect Preparation for burial Mourning Sitting Sheva

# He's here!

When Jesus arrived in town, Mary and Martha were in the house in mourning, sitting Sheva. Someone knew that He had arrived and told them.

This simple fact reveals something very important. We could like this to a form of evangelism. Someone has to tell others about Jesus.

As Paul said in Romans chapter ten, no one will ever know what it is like if no one tells them.

So then faith eliminates the distinction between Jew and non-Jew, for he is the same Lord Jehovah for all people. And he has enough treasures to lavish generously upon all who call on him. And it’s true:
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Yahweh will be rescued and experience new life.”

But how can people call on him for help if they’ve not yet believed? And how can they believe in one they’ve not yet heard of? And how can they hear the message of life if there is no one there to proclaim it? And how can the message be proclaimed if messengers have yet to be sent? That’s why the Scriptures say: How welcome is the arrival of those proclaiming the joyful news of peace and of good things to come! Romans 10:12–15

Salvation is a free gift from God. It cannot be earned. No religious observances can deal with sin and grant eternal life.

God’s Power Raised Jesus from the dead. God’s power raises us from the Dead

And his fullness fills you, even though you were once like corpses, dead in your sins and offenses. It wasn’t that long ago that you lived in the religion, customs, and values of this world, obeying the dark ruler of the earthly realm who fills the atmosphere with his authority, and works diligently in the hearts of those who are disobedient to the truth of God. The corruption that was in us from birth was expressed through the deeds and desires of our self-life. We lived by whatever natural cravings and thoughts our minds dictated, living as rebellious children subject to God’s wrath like everyone else.

But God still loved us with such great love. He is so rich in compassion and mercy. Even when we were dead and doomed in our many sins, he united us into the very life of Christ and saved us by his wonderful grace! He raised us up with Christ the exalted One, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ!

Throughout the coming ages we will be the visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of his grace and kindness, which was showered upon us in Jesus Christ. For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.

We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! Ephesians 2:1–10

We are not told who went them with the news, but someone did!

Whilst theye were in mourninig in their home, someone told them about the Lord and according to custom, both could have been sitting Shiva.
Martha went to meet Him. Mary did not.

Martha broke tradition, but Mary did not.

# Jesus groaned:

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. John 11:33

Martha had met Jesus and returned home to tell Mary who then went to Him. Others followed.

The account says that He groaned in the spirit. This is unusual thing to do as we would usually show some kind of compassion and sympathy to the bereaved.

The Greek word for this groaning is embrimaomai. In simple terms it means that He was angry, so angry in fact that He was snorting with anger. He was also troubled and the Greek word here is tarassō.

This means that He was stirred up and in great distress. Other meanings indicate the actions of people who cause a riot and throw others into confusion.

His feelings were greatly disturbed, not because Lazarus had died, for He knew in advance that he had died and that He would raise him from the dead, but for their unbelief.

He had told the disciples ahead of time that He had deliberately waited—to the end they ye may believe. He also faced belief in the hearts and minds of both Mary and Martha at that time and in the herts and minds of everyone else who had gathered there.

Unbelief is a powerful force that must be adressed by everyone today.

# Jesus wept:

Jesus asked them where they had laid Lazarus. I wonder if He knew beforehand that the man would die, why He needed to ask them. Perhaps He wanted the people to define something, to reveal what was in their hearts?

They told Him to come and see and when they arrived at the tomb, the account simply states, Jesus wept. The Greek wording means that He did indeed shed tears, but one meaning means a kind of wailing as if grief stricken but He was already prepared for anything and did not need to grieve as others were. One meaning is a form of sighing.

If we link the groaning with this sighing, it would seem that he had become so exasperated—so with their attitudes He became angry. After all, many of the people there said that if He could open the eyes of the blind, why couldn’t He have prevented Lazarus from dying. As Mary and Martha had acted, they were convinced that He had left it too late and couldn’t do anything.

To a certain extent, this kind of attitude prevails today. People say that the day of miracles is over; that the gifts of the Spirit are no longer required; that apostles and  prophets no longer exist and so it goes. God ever changes. His word never changes. Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday today and forever never changes. The only thing that changes is man’s heart and belief structure.

# Remove the stone:

Yeshua, again deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying in front of the entrance. Yeshua said, “Take the stone away! John 11:38-39

There are two aspects to consider into this apparently simple command.

The first is that Jesus was our great high priest. To fulfil all requirements of the Jewish Law, He could not and would not allow Himself to become ceremonially unclean. A priest (a kohein) may not be in the presence of a corpse, touch the body or the clothing, or even get too close to the gravesite.

People who have been in the presence of a body wash their hands before entering a home. This is done to symbolically remove spiritual impurity, not physical uncleanness: it applies regardless of whether you have physically touched the body.

The Lord would therefore have had to adhere to those requirements.

The other point is that there are certain things that God expects us to do. God gave delegated authority to mankind via Adam and, despite his actions, God has not taken that away. Jesus, the Second Adam, regained that status on our behalf. There are certain things that He will not do and He provides us with the ability to do them. Often times it is a choice process. We choose to repent, to forgive, to pray or not pray or to study and meditate His word! We also choose to believe or not believe and Jesus had to address their belief issues amongst other things.

One thing that has to be done is to remove any blockages, often likened to a stone or a rock.

God spoke strongly to me, grabbed me with both hands and warned me not to go along with this people. He said:
“Don’t be like this people, always afraid somebody is plotting against them.
Don’t fear what they fear.
Don’t take on their worries.
If you’re going to worry, worry about The Holy. Fear God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
The Holy can be either a Hiding Place or a Boulder blocking your way,
The Rock standing in the willful way of both houses of Israel,
A barbed-wire Fence preventing trespass to the citizens of Jerusalem.
Many of them are going to run into that Rock and get their bones broken, Get tangled up in that barbed wire and not get free of it.” Isaiah 8:11–15 See also Romans 9:33 and 1 Peter 2:6-8

God wants us to be free—but you must take the stone away!

# Martha's unbelief:

Despite all of her affirmations of faith, or statements of belief during her conversation with Jesus when He arrived in town, the first thing she said was, “But…”

This is a prevalent problem today. We may well say, “I believe—but……”

The Lord told her plainly that her brother would live again. She responded with a belief statement that she believed in the resurrection, but sometime in the future. He told her that He is the resurrection and asked her if ehe believed that.

She did not answer His question and continued with another belief statement concerning His divinity.

The answer her prayer was standing in front of her and issued a command to remove the stone and she immediately said, “But…he stinks”.

Unbelief is a stench in the Lord’s nostrils. It is a stone that has to go.

Little wonder that Jesus was exasperated and groaned before. He replied:

Didn’t I tell you that if you will believe in me, you will see God unveil his power? John 11:40

# Jesus prayed:

יהושׁע said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you shall see the esteem of Elohim?” So they took away the stone where the dead man was laid. And יהושׁע lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

“And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing by I said this, in order that they believe that You sent Me.” John 11:40–42

Much is said about prayer and on many occasions, prayer is misunderstood, inappropriate or ineffective.

Whilst that may sound offensive to some people it is true. John taught his disciples how to pray and Jesus’ disciples overheard him. They asked Jesus to do likewise and He gave them a formula that we now call “the Lord’s prayer” that is recognised by many people including unbelievers on all kinds of occasions, but is a pattern to adopt when praying and a pattern only. Reciting the words automatically is often like reciting a poem. It may appeal to the intellect and sound “spiritual”, but one must ask if it is really effective and does God answer.

There are many religions in the world, such as Christianity in which there are different denominations, Judaism, Islam, Buddhist, Sikh, Shinto and others. Each has their own prayer regime. Many people without a relationship with God pray.

Some groups use prayer aids such as prayer beads and rosaries or read from a set prayer book usually a prescribed prayer for the day. Some adopt certain postures. Others lift up their hands.

Certain people believe in loud or lengthy prayers whilst others pray silently.

Jesus disliked "religious prayers” as seen in Matthew 23:14; Mark 12:40 and Luke 22:45 and spoke at length of this in Luke 18:9-14.

James tells us that the effective and fervent pray of a righteous avails much and mentioned Elijah. All that Elijah did was to speak in agreement with what God had said concerning rain. That deserves more investigation.

Jesus did not need to pray, wondering if He was praying according to the mind and will of the Father, because He already knew that and said so. We can pray likewise and that is a lengthy topic in itself. He did however say that He prayed—so that they (and us) would believe…

# Lazarus, come forth:

We have seen that everyone is precious and unique and that Lazarus was “special”—a “certain person”. The account states that Jesus loved him, so it is possible that the two had some kind of relationship. Assuming that they did, when the stone was removed and the Lord issued a simple command, it was “Lazarus…come forth”.

We do not know for sure if it was a “public cemetery” as the account calls it a cave, but assuming it was a cemetery, it would not be unreasonable to assume that Jesus’ command to come forth, without specifying one person, could have raised everyone! The point I wish to make its that He came for one special person. If you are a special person, which you are, then He can minister just to you…

His words were authoritative and commanding. The account says He spoke in a loud voice and the meaning is Mega… loud, but not yelling. His voice penetrated the darkness of the tomb. His words bring life and if we only believe it, we carry the same words He says. When His voice entered into the tomb, a process began.

Lazarus’ body was in a state of decay. The blood had congealed. The heart had stopped pumping. The lungs had collapsed. His muscles had atrophied. The electrical impulses of the brain had ceased functioning. His eyes were unseeing and he was wrapped in linen cloths with a covering over his head.

That voice—the Word of God pierced the darkness and light streamed in. Live returned, but more than simply coming back, a full and total restoration of every cell of his body occurred and the man responded. All that he could do was to go somehow towards that voice—towards that light and he shuffled out of the tomb into a new existence.

# Let the man go:

This brings us to the crux of the story. Jesus then issued a command, “Loose Him”.

Jesus brought Lazarus back to life—but he was still bound. Our salvation is complete, but it is an ongoing process. There is a saying that goes, “We are saved, we are being saved and we shall be saved”. The moment we receive Jesus into our lives, we start a journey that shall eventually take us to heaven, but until then, we live in the world…

Our sins are forgiven and we start a brand new life, but sometimes the power of sin is broken. The habits, the memories, the failures may need to be addressed.

Many people are haunted by the past. They may not be able to forgive themselves. They may have personality issues such as low self esteem.

We need to renew the mind, appropriate what Jesus has already done for us, learn to progress from the infancy stages to mature believers. Such folk need help and the Lord expects us to do that.

Lazarus was bound hand and foot with grave clothes and his face covered with a napkin and this typifies how the old life may still have been controlling him.

He was not productive because his hands were bound.

His walk was stunted because his feet were bound.

He had no vision because his eyes were covered, speaking of lack of spiritual vision.

As it is with many people, Jesus gave him life, but there was something that was binding him as if he were in chains or tied up with rope. The passage states that he came out, bound hand and foot with grave clothes. The word is Deō and it is an apt description.

The Lord then issued another command, Loose him.

Lazarus was now brought back to life, but still impeded by the grave clothes. The word loose is Lyō. It means to break up, to melt, corrode or to dissolve.

An apt description is corrosion, such as rust in the steel or a car, or metal fatigue in an airplane. Once rust has eaten away the steel, nothing remains.

This is what the Lord did at Calvary.

1 John 3:8 states For this purpose the Son of Elohim was manifested: to destroy the works of the devil.

There was one last command that Jesus issued and it applies to us today. It was, Let him go (John11:44)

One of the Greek words used is Aphiēmi and it has a range of meanings that include to send off and to release. Such release is from legal issues, obligations, debt etcetera.

It means to send forth, to forgive and to remit.
This is our job today.

A comparison between Lazarus and us

Jesus brought life back to Lazarus, he was dead (both physically and spiritually).

Before you and I were saved, we were dead in our trespasses and sins.
AND YOU [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins
In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God].
Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God's] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind.
But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us,
Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ;
[He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation).
And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by free grace (God's unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law's demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].  Ephesians 2:1-10

Lazarus was bound hand and foot.

Without truth and knowledge of God, we are captives taken captive by the devil at his will (see 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 4:3;
2 Timothy 2:26).

It can be just as effective a bondage as being bound with chains.

Lazarus was brought back to life, but needed someone to loose him.

When we are saved, or given life, we have embarked on a totally new life. The bible describes us as newborn babies who need care, need protection, need to be fed and nourished and s on. We need assistance in renewing our minds, rid ourselves of habits and overcome problems etc. We do these things by the wshing of wter by the word of God. See 1 Peter 2:2; Deuteronomy 8:3; 2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 5:14, 6:1-2

After loosing him, Lazarus was to be let go.

There are two words in the Greek to consider.

The first is aphiēmi. It refers to forsaking something, forgiveness, laying something aside, remittance and the like.

The second word is hypagō that means to retire, depart, to lead yourself and to go onward.
When we are born again we become new creatures. Old things have passed away and all things take on a new freshness.
This is how an ugly grub is transformed into a beautiful butterfly. In other words, let go of the past. Change your old way of thinking and so on. Another aspect is forgiving others. Jesus said when we pray, we aught to expect the answers, but He also added... forgive.

I also think that this could relate in some way to being sent forth. We are not in it for what we get out of it, but follow Jesus and share what He has done for us. The blessings come as part of the package deal.

If you continue reading on, you will see that many of those Jews believed.

Lazarus had a testimony. Anyone can argue and debate theology, but when the matter actually happens to you, that cannot be denied.

There is much more to share of course, but I must bring this to a close.  Permit me to get personal.

You fall into one of two categories.

The first group of people are already Christians, but plagued with problems of insecurity, low self esteem, unsure of their destiny, or struggling with issues that are holding them back.

I am doing what Jesus told those people to do with Lazarus.
I am telling you to be loosed and be set free. I am saying that you are someone special and that God has a plan and purpose for you. Find it! Spend quality time alone with Him. Start to dig deep into His word. Talk to Him as you would talk to your best friend. Cultivate a love affair with Him.

If you do such things, your life will radically change. The things that hold you back will drop off in the way that Lazarus’ chains and fetters dropped off as you turn to the Lord and get out of that cave.

If you are in the other group of people who know about God but do not know him, change your status right now.
You could go to a church, but still not know God. You could do all of the things that on the surface will grant favour with God, not knowing that the only way this can be done is to accept Jesus. When you do that, all the things that bind you in any way will be dissolved like that rust I talked about earlier.

Do you know Jesus?

You can.

It is simply a matter of asking God to help you.

God in Heaven, I know that I have not measured up, but I also know now that I need what you offer me—the free gift of eternal life through Your Son Jesus.

I ask you to forgive me for not believing and for all that I have done to offend you.

In the book of romans chapter ten, it speaks about hearing something about God, believing it and doing something about it. Verses nine and ten summarise it as follows:

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

If you believe that God can change you and give you eternal life (we call that getting saved or being born-again), say so and ask Him to do just that.

Additional references

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. Romans 3:22-25

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right.
And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom.
But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:20-23

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.
All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.
But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” John 3:16-22.

I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.
I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I am writing to you who are young in the faith because you have won your battle with the evil one.
I have written to you who are God’s children because you know the Father. I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one. 1 John 2:12-14 .

See what great love the Father has given us in naming us the children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not see who we are, because it did not see who he was.
My loved ones, now we are children of God, and at present it is not clear what we are to be. We are certain that at his revelation we will be like him; for we will see him as he is.
And everyone who has this hope in him makes himself holy, even as he is holy. 1 John 3:1-3.

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