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40. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
It is to be observed here, that Jesus does not remove the stone. He alone could raise the body which lay buried within: but they could take away the stone which closed up the cave. It had been easy for him to say, "Get thee hence, and be cast into the sea:" but to no purpose, as his power was not required.
So towards effecting that greater work, the salvation of the soul, he commands us to strive, and labour, and use all diligence. The exhortations could hardly be stronger, if our diligence could achieve every thing, and it were not God, who "of his good pleasure worketh in us both to will and to do." Our safety does depend upon his grace," which is sufficient for us;" upon his prayer "that our faith fail not :" but, meanwhile, he requires us to "watch and pray, that we enter not into temptation." It is " by the power of God that men are kept, through faith, unto salvation :" but nevertheless, "he that is born of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."
Martha opposes the removal of the stone, and urges the state in which the corpse might be expected to be found, as he had been dead four days. He rebukes her, but with gentleness: Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
So we are taught, that when God speaks, we must take his promise for a reality, his word as a certainty. Our faith must be to us "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
When Abraham, at God's command, took Isaac his son and prepared to offer him up in sacrifice, he did this, we are told, believing "that God was able to raise him up even from the dead." He had no doubt of God's performing his original promise, that in the seed of Abraham should "all the nations of the earth be blessed." Therefore he reasoned with himself, However unaccountable it may appear, the promise cannot fail: God will fulfil his word, and raise my son to life again.
And the example is instructive. It shows us how to use God's word. Does he say, "Call upon me in the day of trouble?" and can we suppose that he has given this encouragement, and will yet suffer his people to call upon him in vain? Perhaps, like Martha, you have waited through days of darkness and weeks of perplexity; have suffered in spirit, through a powerful temptation, and an unbelieving heart. Yet consider these words as addressed to you ;-Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest persevere in the path of duty, thou shouldest see the light of God's countenance shining out at last through the gloom and cloudiness of thy day? Said I not unto the penitent, "Re
2 Heb. xi. 19.
turn unto the Lord, for he will have mercy upon thee?" Said I not to him that is tempted, "Resist the devil, and he shall flee from thee?" Said I not unto the afflicted, They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy?" Why then should the mourner say, There is no mercy for me? for me? Why should the offender say, I cannot get the mastery over my evil passions? Why should the afflicted say, "God hideth his face away from me in displeasure?" This is thine infirmity. It must be contended against. For such cases, and for all cases, God has left it written, "Look unto me, and be saved.” "They shall seek me, and they shall find me, if they seek me with their whole heart. If thou canst believe, thou shalt see the glory of God.
This we do believe. But temptation turns our belief into unbelief: and we must seek his Spirit more and more, that we may be able not only to read his promises, but to apply them to ourselves.
JESUS RECALLS LAZARUS TO LIFE.
JOHN xi. 41-44.
41. Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
It pleased the Lord on this occasion to show the intimate connexion between himself and his Father. This miracle was especially intended to display his power. He had stated from the first, that the sickness of Lazarus was not unto death, but for the glory of God, and that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. For the glory of God, that the provision which he had made for the recovery of his sinful creatures might be clearly seen, and that the Son of God might be glorified: since none could doubt whether he came forth from God, who could thus loose the bands of death, and reanimate the lifeless body. Therefore he makes a direct appeal to heaven.
Because of the people
which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
This exercise of divine power gave fresh force to his assurance concerning every one that believeth on him: "I will raise him up at the last day." What took place in the case of Lazarus, shall take place with all. In the fulness of time, he will call upon "the sea to give up its dead, and death and hell to deliver up the dead that are in them," and all nations shall be gathered before him. We are here assured of his power to do so. To restore animation to the lifeless corpse, to reunite the soul to the body after they have been four days separated, is no less the work of omnipotence, than to raise those who have lain in the grave four hundred or four thousand years. As, then, he here said to Lazarus, Come forth; and he that was dead came forth; so will he hereafter say to all who have ever returned to their native dust, Come forth. Arise, ye dead, and prepare to meet your God. St. John, who witnessed this miracle, was afterwards permitted in a vision to witness that of which this miracle is an exam