“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Wanted ... Dead and Alive!, by Randall D. Kittle

According to the Gospels, which three men did the leaders of Israel consider the most dangerous men of their time? One was certainly John the Baptist, the radical, no-compromise prophet who lost his head because he would not tolerate sin … even when he found it in the palace of the king. Of course, enemy number one to the religious leaders in those days was our Lord Jesus Christ whom they eventually arrested, scourged, and nailed to a cross to die. However, the other man the leaders of Israel considered threateningly dangerous may surprise you … Lazarus. We can easily understand why they feared and hated John the Baptist and Jesus. They preached the kingdom of God — calling the people to repentance and calling the Pharisees out for whom they were … but why Lazarus?

The book of John clearly shows how dangerous the spiritual leaders considered Lazarus. “Meanwhile, a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of Him but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in Him” (John 12:9–11). After coming back to life, one of the first things Lazarus had to face was a death sentence. Lazarus was the only one besides Jesus who was the object of a murder plot by the chief priests prior to Pentecost.

The Pharisees decided to kill Lazarus because they knew that anyone with a story as powerful as his was a threat to the comfortable status quo of their religion. The testimony of Lazarus was one of the key reasons the large crowd met Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. “Now the crowd that was with Him when He called Lazarus from the tomb and raised Him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that He had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet Him” (John 12:17–18).

In a very short time, Lazarus had gone from being a friend of Jesus to being an important reason many were coming to Jesus, believing in Jesus, and worshiping Jesus. All of this the Scriptures proclaim Lazarus accomplished while never even preaching a single sermon. He didn’t have to. His whole life was a walking sermon … a living testimony! When people saw Lazarus, they could not think of anything other than the fact that Jesus had brought him back to life. He had become living proof of the power of Jesus. His new life was his message — and it drew multitudes.

The world will always wonder at those whose old lives have passed away and had all things made new. Does your life cause those you meet to wonder about the Lord and be drawn to Him? This is what the Lord is longing for you to become, a “Lazarus believer.” You are wanted: wanted dead and alive — dead to sin and self, and alive in Christ. If you will surrender your life completely to the Lord, holding back nothing, He will make all things new. Only as your old life is replaced by Christ’s new life will you, like Lazarus, be a sign and a wonder that draws people to Jesus and cause His name to be glorified and His kingdom to be displayed.

Can you say with Paul,
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me …” (Galatians 2:20)? If not, surrender your life afresh and anew today, so your life can be a living testimony that draws many to God and gives Him glory.

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