John 11:38-44

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

In this passage, we encounter one of the most powerful moments in the New Testament: the raising of Lazarus from the dead. A deeply emotional Jesus approaches the tomb, a symbol of death's dominion. Yet, before uttering the life-giving command that would restore Lazarus to life, Jesus pauses and lifts his eyes to heaven and says, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me."

The significance of this verse is often overlooked. Jesus thanks God for hearing him BEFORE he calls Lazarus forth, and Lazarus comes out from the tomb! It is not the only time when Jesus has thanked God for a miracle before the miracle has taken place. Before Jesus multiplied the food, Scripture says, “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all” (Mark 6:41).

Why don’t we do the same thing when we pray to God? Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:23-24). If we have faith, we WILL thank God in advance because we will believe that he has heard and answered our prayer!

Jesus thanked God aloud for the benefit of the people who were with his. He said in his prayer, “I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” This act of public thanksgiving transcended mere gratitude. It was a demonstration and a lesson to his audience on gratitude, faith, and his identity. It was one thing claiming to be the resurrection and the life, as he had just done; it was another thing demonstrating it!

Notice also the timing of His prayer. He made it AFTER the stone covering the tomb was rolled away. He wanted to amplify the contrast between the stench of death and the aroma of the life he was about to restore. The loud command, "Lazarus, come out!" echoed in the stillness, shattering the grip of death. And then, wrapped in the shroud of death, Lazarus walked out, a testament to the power of belief.

This scene is a potent reminder that faith is not a passive acceptance, but an active force that interacts with the divine. Jesus' public display of faith not only served as a catalyst for the miracle but also challenged the onlookers to believe, to engage in their own act of faith. Exercise yours by first giving thanks.

God bless you.

More in this category: « John 11:28-37 John 11:45-50 »
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Read and reflect on the gospels with Aneel Aranha — one little bite at a time. To receive these via WhatsApp, please message "subscribe" to +91 93214 56817. For other great resources by Aneel Aranha, visit https://aneelaranha.com/
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Read and reflect on the gospels with Aneel Aranha — one little bite at a time. To receive these via WhatsApp, please message "subscribe" to +91 93214 56817. For other great resources by Aneel Aranha, visit https://aneelaranha.com/
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Read and reflect on the gospels with Aneel Aranha — one little bite at a time. To receive these via WhatsApp, please message "subscribe" to +91 93214 56817. For other great resources by Aneel Aranha, visit https://aneelaranha.com/
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Read and reflect on the gospels with Aneel Aranha — one little bite at a time. To receive these via WhatsApp, please message "subscribe" to +91 93214 56817. For other great resources by Aneel Aranha, visit https://aneelaranha.com/

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