Come Forth!

The Raising of Lazarus (detail) by Carl Heinrich Bloch

When Jesus healed people, He often gave them some instruction, such as “Arise, take up thy bed, and walk” (Matthew 9:6, Mark 2:11, John 5:8) or “Go, and shew thyself to the priest” (Matthew 8:4, Mark 1:44, Luke 5:14). Today, I’ve been thinking about the Savior’s instruction as He raised His friend Lazarus from the dead: “Lazarus, come forth!” (John 11:43).

I realize that was a logical, if also dramatic, thing to say under the circumstances. If Lazarus was alive (as he was), then he did need to come out of the tomb into the light and begin living his life again. Today, I’ve been thinking about some of the ways this instruction might also apply to me. What might the Savior be asking me to do with this instruction?

  • Come forth, and spend time with other people.
  • Come forth, and make your voice heard.
  • Come forth, and work to achieve bigger goals.
  • Come forth, and volunteer to help.

Ultimately, in this instruction, I hear an invitation to exercise faith, to step out of my comfort zone, to face the risk of embarrassment, and to do challenging things even if they are highly visible.

Lehi’s final counsel to his oldest sons, Laman and Lemuel, included this admonition: “Awake, my sons,” he said, “shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust” (2 Nephi 1:23, italics added). And Amulek extended the same invitation to the Zoramites:

Come forth and bring fruit unto repentance.

Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation…

Alma 34:30-31, italics added

Alma tells us that we will all eventually “come forth from the dead” (Alma 40:4-5, 19, 21). That must feel a lot like what Lazarus had to do that day. We can prepare for that experience by “coming forth” every day—stepping outside, getting involved, engaging with life.

Today, I will “come forth.” I will immerse myself in the activities of the day. I will interact meaningfully with other people. I will work toward challenging goals. I will be alive.

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