“Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14).
Awakening is a theme often repeated in scripture. “Awake! Awake! Put on your strength, O Zion!” Isaiah cried. “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin,” Paul said to the Corinthians. He put it this way when he wrote to the church in Ephesus – “Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!” (Ephesians 5:14, The Message).
When the disciples heard the news that Lazarus had died, Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up” (John 11:11). Arriving at the tomb, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” Lazarus came out of the crypt fully alive, but was still wrapped up like a mummy. Jesus said to those standing by, “Loose him, and let him go.” (see John 11:43-44).
The story of Lazarus shows us three things Jesus does to awaken a sleeping Church, and rouse a slumbering giant.
First, He gives us the ability to hear His voice — “Lazarus!” Just days before this miracle took place Jesus had said, “The hour is coming when those who are in the graves will hear the voice of the Son of God, and will live.” Lazarus heard His voice and came to life — so can you and I.
Second, Jesus gives us the power to become what He has called us to be — “Come forth!” When Jesus called Lazarus by name, that awakened him; when He told Lazarus to come forth from the tomb, that empowered him. The Lord never commands us do something that He does not empower us to do. What has He commanded you to do?
And third, Jesus gives us the help we need to be completely liberated from the effects and trappings of a failed life — “Loose him, and let him go!” Jesus spoke these words to those standing by, and He does the same for us.
There are key people – close friends and valued associates whom the Lord has put in our lives to help us get out of our grave clothes and into a new wardrobe. If we will cooperate with the process, our lives will truly be transformed. If we are willing for it to happen. That’s the key.
(tune in tomorrow for the conclusion….)