Raising Lazarus from the dead.
Good morning friends. Today I want you to imagine with me that we are at a huge sports arena watching your favorite basketball team play. Your team has been down by one point the whole game and now, with time running out, your favorite player has the ball in his or her hands. As the clock runs down, three...two...one, your favorite player shoots from the baseline and...BOINK! The ball bounces off the rim and time runs out.
Suddenly, however, you realize your favorite player was fouled and will be shooting free throws with no time remaining. But as he moves toward the free throw line the entire crowd begins to spill out of the gymnasium...no one thinks he or she will make the free throws to win the game. And now your favorite player begins to cry. How deflating, huh?
This was the scene for those gathered with Jesus outside Lazarus's tomb. Lazarus had been dead for four days and no one thought he would be coming back. And Jesus, the only one who might have been able to do something, begins to cry.
But guess what? Jesus wasn't crying because Lazarus was dead. He was crying because none of the people believed that Jesus had the power to bring Lazarus back. He was crying because the people were so bound by death that they had lost their faith. So in order to give them a sign that all was not lost and that they should believe, Jesus walked up to the tomb and called for Lazarus to come out.
And when Lazarus appeared everyone realized that Jesus had beaten death with a big, overtime, SWISH!