As a child, John 11 was one of my favorite Bible passages. I loved listening to the story of Lazarus. Part of it may have been because the town where Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary lived shared my name: Bethany. But the more I heard this story, the more I loved it for other reasons as well.
I loved hearing how Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the grave. I loved how Jesus had such a close friendship with these three siblings, and how both sisters believed that if Jesus had been there sooner, their brother would not have died.
One verse that always stood out to me was the shortest verse. John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept.” He was overcome with emotion and cried. He cared so much for His friend that He shed tears for him.
But that wasn’t how the story ended. I liked listening when Jesus told Lazarus to come out of the grave. Lazarus had been in the tomb—dead—for four days, and when he walked out he was still wrapped in burial cloths, so Jesus told the people to unwind them. Lazarus came to life again by the hand of Jesus.
This story reminds me of how Jesus will raise us to life again too. If we’ve put our trust in Him, we get to look forward to the day He will return and raise us from our graves, no matter how long we’ve been dead, and we will live with Him in renewed creation forever. Jesus has guaranteed our future by dying on the cross for us and rising from His own grave. He is the God who defeated death, the God who calls us His friends. • Bethany Acker
• Do you have a favorite Bible story you like to revisit over and over again? What about it captivates you? The amazing thing about the Bible is that God speaks to us through it, and the Holy Spirit helps us notice and understand more and more throughout our lives. So the Bible passages we’re drawn to when we’re young can continue to come alive to us as we grow older.
• Consider taking some time to read John 11:1-44 slowly. What sticks out to you today? What makes you wonder?
Jesus said to her [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25 (NIV)