Author: Dr. Rafat Amari/Monday, September 11, 2017/Categories: Christianity, The Bible, New Testament, John, Footsteps of the Creator toward Impossible, Article
Christ is seen as the Creator when He raised the body of Lazarus from a semi-dust situation
By Dr. Rafat Amari
There is not enough time to stop and tell of each of the miracles of Jesus in detail, which all clearly show His identity as Creator, therefore, I will only discuss one of His miracles in detail: the raising of Lazarus from the dead four days after his burial.
John writes in the eleventh chapter of his gospel that Jesus told His disciples, “ Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him out of sleep.”
Jesus is the One on whom life depends. In Him is found the blossom of life, the breeze that rouses a person to life.
What must it have been like for Lazarus, after he had been dead for four days, to wake from death? In Jesus Christ, creation was repeated. By Jesus’ power, life was restored. Jesus used the word “ wake” when He talked about the resurrection of the dead even though the body had been buried and had become putrefied.
This is a truly divine operation reflecting the ability of the Creator to bring into being a living being from the earth as he did when he created man for the first time. By using the word “ wake,” Jesus showed how easy it is for Him to perform divine works, characteristic of what only the Creator can do. For Jesus, raising a dead person was as easy as waking someone who was asleep.
Here we see the distinctive language of Jesus. It contains expressions that created beings cannot use. It is a language that reflects his absolute and unlimited powers, just as my language as a human being reflects the things that I do regularly in my life. Just as my language expresses a specific human life with specific functions, so the language of Jesus contains expressions that it is impossible for a human being to use, since they reflect powers and functions that are essentially divine. The expressions Jesus uses reveal his absolute powers, and are simply everyday expressions in Jesus’ life that reveal the divine essence that was united with the perfect humanity and revealed to his contemporaries.
As a human being I say, “ Today I am going to have supper,” or “Now I will go for a walk”. I speak with no uncertainty or effort in my words. Having supper or going for a walk does not require a great effort on my part. I am easily up to the routine tasks I do each day. For Jesus, His divine acts-even His greatest acts-are made into a routine thing. He simply said, “I am going to wake him”. It is just like me waking my brother from sleep without any effort when he is sleeping in a bed beside me, because I am aware that waking up someone from sleep is a simple operation with guaranteed success.
When Jesus spoke about Lazarus being asleep, Jesus expressed His will to do the highest work, work which could be identified only with the Creator Himself. The highest function of God is something routine for Christ. Although bringing Lazarus back to life was work only to be done by God the Creator, Jesus expressed it as something which was part of His daily routine.
The raising of Lazarus resembles the creation of the first man, and is indicative of the real identity of the Creator, Jesus Christ, and shows that the creation of Adam was one of Jesus’ everyday activities. What Jesus did in raising Lazarus is some of the best evidence we have that Jesus is the Creator who operated in the book of Genesis. He is the Eternal Son of God who created man from dust and breathed into him the breath of life.
Have you noticed how slow the disciples were to grasp the language of Jesus? He was the Creator walking on earth, but He spoke about His creative works as though they were as routine as ours when we speak about wanting to do something simple.
The disciples not only had to realize the power of Jesus as Creator, but to make the link between His great, divine work and His other everyday activities. Even the creation of Adam was an operation Jesus could repeat without any difficulty. Indeed, it was easy for him to repeat it at any time, and as easy in terms of his divine abilities as a man waking up a friend whenever he wants.
The disciples didn’t understand Jesus’ purpose by the way He talked, so they asked him, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better?” Like us, the disciples interpreted the words of Jesus in terms of human experience, without realizing that the music of infinity resonated within Jesus” words.
However, the disciples, after accompanying Jesus to the tomb of buried and stinking Lazarus, and after Jesus let out his divine cry for Lazarus to come out, the language and music of infinity became more comprehensible to them than before.
I wonder if the disciples remembered that, on another occasion, Jesus explained to them that He wakes up all those who die believing in Him. The disciples heard Him utter the words recorded for us by John in the sixth chapter of his gospel, “Everyone who looks to the Son and believes on Him, shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
With Lazarus, Jesus demonstrated His personal power to wake those who believe in Him on the day of resurrection. He was exercising His prerogative to give life to His creatures. Thus, He showed that the grace of life that every creature enjoys comes from Him, since He is able to spiritually raise us to life after death in an even more glorious way.
The purpose of Jesus in our lives exceeds our expectations as much as the resurrection of Lazarus exceeds the waking of a sleeping man.
(Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.)
Let us see how different what Jesus wanted to do was from what the disciples understood at that time.
In our walk with Jesus, we grow gradually in our understanding of His purposes in our lives and we come to appreciate increasingly the greatness of his power at work in our lives, and his ability to touch dead and impossible aspects of any being in existence.
Our expectations concerning the work of Jesus are based on human standards. We expect Jesus to raise someone who is sleeping and to perform ordinary acts like healing a sick person. But Jesus wants to raise us to spiritual life, giving us His Spirit. And He wants to touch our friends who have lost hope of ever receiving spiritual life for themselves.
The difference between our understanding of what can be done and Jesus’ intentions is as great as the difference between raising a sleeping person and a dead person.
Jesus still intends to bring another awakening in our generation: to our cities, our villages, our houses and to our lives. He intends to bring a life-giving spiritual change that nobody can bring except God himself.
Jesus’ purposes are on the same level as His responsibility as the Creator. His work in Lazarus was a new creative stage for this man to whom Jesus granted the grace of natural life.
When Jesus comes to us, He gives us a gift that is similar to the first creation, but more powerful. He purifies us from our sins. He gives us new spiritual life.
In reality, even though the miracles of Jesus are explained in words and expressions from our dictionary, they are beyond human expectations and understanding in the same way that the resurrection of a decomposing body is superior to waking man from sleep.
I invite you to trust that Jesus is capable and willing to do a similar miracle in your life. He gave you your natural life as your Creator . Now He is willing to do a greater miracle by giving you a spiritual nature, enabling you to live as a spiritual being who loves Him and has fellowship with Him.
He does this through the Spirit of God, who is His Spirit, also. When you accept Jesus’ work on the cross and open your heart to Him, He sends His Spirit to perform this miracle of spiritual regeneration in you.
If you are already a Christian, trust Jesus to perform His life-giving miracle in the hearts of your friends and family members though it may seem impossible for them to change. May God bless you.
Jesus relates to both the earthly world and the spiritual world, where those who have died in the hope of resurrection now live.
Our studies in the eleventh chapter of John’s gospel have brought us to a question many people ask: “ What happens to a person when death overtakes him or her? “
Jesus told His disciples, “ Our friend, Lazarus, sleeps, but I must go that I may wake him out of sleep.” At first, the disciples thought Jesus was talking about Lazarus resting and sleeping as we do each day.
But Jesus had more than simple sleep in mind. The Bible tells us, “So then, he told them plainly, Lazarus is dead “. In this simple sentence Jesus makes a significant comment. Lazarus was no longer in contact with our earth.
When Jesus described the dead as sleeping, He was talking as one who sees those who die in faith now alive and resurrected. They are not lost forever. Only Lazarus’ body remained. His spirit had departed from earth. For this reason, Jesus used an expression that indicates life continues for those who have gone to another world.
Jesus’ statement emphasizes that He saw Lazarus alive and fully conscious, even though Lazarus no longer existed in our earthly perspective. To sleep is an expression used by someone who has contact with both our world and the eternal world. Jesus knew that those who have died in faith rest from their labors, asleep in the Lord and awaiting the second resurrection in which they will be given glorified bodies like the resurrection body of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
But Jesus had more in mind than to reveal that heaven awaits for those who die in the Lord. Jesus provided the disciples with an invitation to witness a practical example of the work of the dynamic hero of creation. He told His disciples, “ For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.”
As we have seen, Jesus was absent from the Jerusalem area, near which was the village of Bethany where Lazarus lived, during the illness of Lazarus. He considered this as an opportunity to show his disciples a miracle that would stimulate them to realize his true incarnate identity.
Seeing Lazarus brought back to life was an opportunity for the disciples to observe a step in the creative process which was as great as what Jesus accomplished during the days when He created the universe. Once they saw Him raise Lazarus, Jesus knew the disciples would discover His identity and recognize Him as the One who did these works. In front of them was a miracle which paralleled the first works attributed to the Creator in the book of Genesis.
As we read about this event, we realize that Jesus was not satisfied for His disciples to simply believe that He was the Son of God, the Messiah. Peter had already testified to that in Caesarea Philippi when Jesus had asked the disciples who men were saying that He was and who they thought He was. Peter had replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew tells us in the 16th chapter of his gospel that Peter’s reply was correct, for Jesus answered, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”
In other words, the Father had revealed to Peter this important knowledge that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God, whose incarnation the prophets in the Old Testament had prophesied about.
But in the Bible, faith in Christ the Creator is a dual revelation. The first is the Biblical revelation that he is the Creator.
In the book of Proverbs, chapter 8 and verses 27 through 31, we read about Jesus: “I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was the craftsman at the Father’s side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence.”
Even before His tenure on earth, Jesus was bringing into being what had already been planned should be created. The writer, in the tenth through thirteenth verses of the first chapter of his letter to the Hebrews, says about the Son, “In the beginning, Oh Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” Here he quotes Psalm 102:26, which prophesies about Jesus Christ. It’s clear from the Bible that Jesus is the Creator.
However, the revelation which really reveals that the human being Jesus is the person whom the Bible reveals as the Creator, is that practical revelation where this person is seen accomplishing sample works commensurate with those mentioned in the book of Genesis during the creation of man and of the universe.
Jesus had prepared the disciples to experience what the angels witnessed at the time of the first creation. The Creator passed before a body of clay and gave it life. He breathed the breath of life into it so that it might become man.
In this way, the disciples were treated to a special experience. Their spirits were lifted by witnessing a miracle that recalled the way Adam had been created. Their spirits were lifted by a practical revelation. The One who walked with them showed them that He is God, the Creator and hero of creation.
In a measure, you can experience what the disciples experienced when you realize Jesus Christ is the Creator. He’s your Creator who became flesh and dwelt among us so that we might know Him, love Him and adore Him. I invite you to worship Him as your Creator and present your requests to Him. Because He is the Creator, He can work in your situation according to His Divine creative abilities and capabilities.
Copyright 2006 by Dr. Rafat Amari. All rights reserved.
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Scholar in comparative religions and Author of over 30 books