Saturday, April 23, 2016

Because God Said

There is something that is special and unique in the final miracle of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. On the day before Palm Sunday the Church commemorates the Feast of the Raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus. Jesus had performed many other miracles before including bringing dead people back to life, but the raising of Lazarus was different. This miracle required only Jesus speaking for life to return to a man who had been dead for four days. The Jews standing by remembered where they had seen life created just be the spoken word. They remembered how in Genesis it was explained that God is the ONLY one who can create simply because He speaks. This is why the Church prepares us for Palm Sunday and Holy Week by showing us the power of the God of Creation Who came to united us to Himself.

Hello, my name is Father Athanasios Haros and I'm the pastor here at the Transfiguration of Our Savior Greek Orthodox Church in Florence South Carolina and I'm your host for Be Transfigured Ministries. Here at Be Transfigured, as we say, we invite you to live a new life in Christ. We feature our sermons and our Bible studies and other special events in the life of the Church. We do it to inspire you to join us in living a new life in Christ, I hope you'll join us. I'll be back in a moment after this video to share some information about our ministry.

I just wanted to share a few words this morning about this great miracle that God has done for us today. Before I get to the miracle, I want to remind everyone of the story in Genesis, all the way back to the beginning, the beginning, beginning, the very first chapter of the book of Genesis. It says, "And God said, let there be light, and there was light." Later it says, "And God said let the earth bring forth life, and the earth brought life." Simply because God said it, the world was created, the entire universe was created simply because God said the words and life came.

I want you to have that in your mind because this morning's miracle, the raising of Lazarus from the dead is the final public miracle of Jesus Christ before His crucifixion. He had performed other miracles before, He had healed people of their sickness, He had as the Gospel even said this morning, He had healed the blind, He had even brought back the dead to life, but in every one of those cases, He used His hands. Like in the story that the Gospel mentions with the healing of the blind man, He made the mud and He placed it on his eyes, or in the case of Jairus' daughter, He went and He placed His hand on the tomb, or in the case of Peter's mother-in-law, He went and He touched her.

In every one of those cases, Jesus Christ in his miracle used His hands except this one. This is the greatest of all miracles of God because Jesus didn't go inside the tomb, Jesus didn't touch Lazarus. He stood outside the tomb and He gives the instructions, He tells the people, roll away the stone. It said something very important in the Gospel that we have to remember, it says that Mary said, "Lord by now there's going to be an odor because he's been dead for four days." How many of you have gone down the street and seen a opossum dead on the side of the road hit by a car or something, any of you ever seen that? It stinks, doesn't it? You can smell it as you're driving by, and that's only the day it dies. Imagine what Lazarus must have smelled like. That's what Mary was trying to tell Him, Lord really, are You sure You want to open the tomb, it's going to really be stinky. He says, "Open it up," and He calls out, He says, "Lazarus come out."

Just as He had done when He created the universe, He spoke the words and life came. This is where the Gospel says, that many of the Jews who had come with Mary when they saw this, they all believed because they remembered the stories of Genesis. They knew only God can create by just saying a word. Even all the other miracles that Jesus had done: the blind, the crippled, even the earlier ones who had been dead, anyone could have done those miracles in those days. Believe it or not, there were other miracle workers, but only God can bring life by saying the words. Today my brothers and sisters when we are remembering the raising of Lazarus from the dead the final public miracle of Jesus Christ before His crucifixion, the greatest miracle He ever performed prior to His own resurrection, we'll talk about that at the end of next week.

Our God the God who with just the spoken word can bring the dead back to life, He's our God, but as we are going to experience next week during Holy Week, He's not just a distant God looking down from heaven, "Hello over there down there," but He came and became one of us. There's something very important for us as Orthodox Christians to understand, that God could have given us eternal life simply by speaking the words. That's what this morning's Gospel teaches us, but what we're going to celebrate in the coming days is not just eternal life. God could have done that with the spoken word but even greater than that, that God the Creator, became a human being so that we could forever be united to Him in a real physical union with God. That's what makes this week so special coming up next week.

This morning we see the God the Creator, tomorrow we're going to celebrate the King of Kings. And then beginning tomorrow night, we're going to see that God loved us so much that He did everything to connect us, to unite us, to bring us completely into unity with Him. We stay into communion with God, and not just any God, but the God who can create life simply by saying the word. If we are ever struggling, if we are wondering how in the world we're going to make it through another day, we remember that we are united to the God who can speak life into the world, and He's got our back, He has got us in the palm of His hands. Nothing can hurt us even if we get cut, even if we feel the pain, it can't hurt us because our God creates life with just the spoken word. Glory to God for all things.

Well I'm back. I hope this video was an inspiration to you, I hope it helps you live a new life in Christ. Please share our message of hope with your friends and family and invite others to live a new life in Christ. Find more information about Be Transfigured Ministries by joining us on our website at You can also find many of our videos at the Orthodox Christian Network our partners at As we say at Be Transfigured, until next week, God bless you and don't forget to live a new life in Christ.

Be transfigured is a production of the Transfiguration of Our Savior Greek Orthodox Church in Florence, South Carolina and presented by the Orthodox Christian Network. Contributions in support of this ministry may be sent to Be Transfigured, 2990 South Cashua Drive, Florence, South Carolina, 29501, or online at our website at

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