JESUS RAISES LAZARUS
I appreciate you being here this morning; it is a special morning because like all other days it is a day which the Lord has made and we should rejoice in it; but Sunday’s are a little more special in that, as John says in Revelation 1:9, “It is the Lord’s day”; the day in which we are reminded each week of His rising from the grave.
I ask you to look at the first verse of the passage that was read; John 11:1. In the last 12 months this same thing that happened to Martha and Mary has happened to many of us; and we can be sure that this same thing will happen in the future.
So, in the depths of your grief where do you find any comfort, peace, or hope. Well, the same place that Martha and Mary found theirs.
For others, I hope you will let what John says here convince you to draw even closer to Christ.
11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
When this takes place Jesus is being rejected by almost everyone! It seems that He was an unwelcome guest in most homes with the exception of this one family who lived about 2 miles from Jerusalem.
4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”
Understand, Jesus is not saying that Lazarus was not going to die at all. Lazarus will die; vs. 14; and so will we.
Now, can I share just a few of my personal thoughts with you on what we just read? This is not a commandment; maybe more of just a suggestion; something to think about.
Did you know that everyone in this auditorium this morning has some health issue they are dealing with?
And the same when it comes to death! Every one of us will die. If we glorify God in life, should we not glorify God death?
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.
Was Jesus reluctant to return? Did He not care? No, there is no doubt from vs. 35 that Jesus cared.
7 Then after this He *said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples *said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
I have read several commentaries this week and none of them agree or seem to understand exactly what Jesus is saying.
11 This He said, and after that He *said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will [a]recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of [b]literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”
Scripture indicates that “those who have died, all who are in the tombs, will on the last day, when the trumpet sounds, when the Lord returns, be raised, “those who did good deeds to a resurrection of life; and those who committed evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”
And notice vs. 15 again. Jesus says, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”
And, look at vs. 16: Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
Every one of us, every day, walk into “uncertainty”; we don’t even know what the next hour holds; perhaps illness and death.
17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about [d]two miles off; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother.
20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary [e]stayed at the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
3 Jesus *said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus does not mean that “everyone who lives and believes in Him will never die (physically).” Lazarus at the time was dead.
28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him.
30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and [h]was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.
36 So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, [i]have kept this man also from dying?”
38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, *came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus *said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, *said to Him, “Lord, by this time [j]there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus *said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the [k]people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus *said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
In the last year illness and death have frequently come to our doors; the grief still lingers and will do so for some time; comfort in this life is hard to find.
And for everyone: This miracle is recorded here in a “one, final, climactic, undeniable, incomparable, indisputable effort to get you and I to put our faith in, and obediently follow Christ.
And remember this: if Jesus can raise Lazarus from the dead; I know that He can do the same for each one of us some day.