Today’s story = Jesus raised a dead man after 4 days!
Lazarus, brother, Mary & Martha, sisters.
Lazarus = a KEY person in John’s book.
Lazarus, Jesus, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus.
His family stories are repeated many times (10-15?)
This was not the last miracle before Jesus’ cross, but it was the one that aroused the MOST anger from his enemies.
This is the MOST climactic miracle in his earthly ministry.
Lazarus has been in the tomb 4 days. This miracle could not be denied.
If Jesus cannot do anything about death, then whatever else (miracles) he can do, amount to nothing.
If we only have hope in Jesus in this life, we are to be pitied above all men (1 Cor. 15).
The story does not start with Lazarus’ death, but his sickness.
v.1 He was sick.
Sisters sent a short, urgent message to Jesus. This is enough for Jesus to understand fully.
They, the sisters, expected IMMEDIATE action to spare them grief. Jesus should have done something quickly, on their expectation because they loved each other so much. They were Jesus’ close friends. Plus, Lazarus was nearby.
Jesus did nothing, only said, “This sickness is for God’s glory.”
4 days, he was in the tomb.
Day 1 – Messenger arrived with message, same day, Lazarus died, lay dead in the tomb.
Day 2 – returned to Bethany, Jesus stayed.
Day 3 – Jesus stayed.
Day 4 – Jesus departed and arrived.
Martha saw him, “IF you had been here, he would not have died!” (v. 21)
Mary (v. 33) “IF you had been here, he would not have died!”
Why did you come so late? Why not earlier?
Because you came late, my brother died. This is mixed and complicated feeling of two sisters. Complaining, despair, still trusting, hope, lots of emotion.
Sickness – even death – does not indicate that God has rejected you.
Remind ourselves that we are not exempt from the pain, sufferings, and difficulties in this world.
We do not have a different life in this world. But, we can experience life differently – through our hope in Jesus.
Our hope does not isolate us from this world’s difficulties.
But, our hope does provide us a way through these difficulties to make us more humble, compassionate, strong, for others.
First lesson – Wait.
Jesus’ delay had a specific purpose. This was God’s timing.
Sometimes we think, He is not listening, He is not answering, He is not doing what we want.
But, God meets all our needs according to HIS plan and purpose, for HIS glory.
Second lesson – Timing.
Sometimes, we offer passionate prayer of need and God answers quickly, and we are excited! Our faith is strengthened!
Other times, it seems God may never answer…Even in our whole lifetimes…
Sometimes we “waste” many, many years only to see God answer our prayers in a different way.
Sometimes, God’s answer is “no.”
In whatever case, God’s timing and answer is perfect and best!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…
In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Man plans his way in his heart, but God directs his paths.
Jesus, “IF you believe, you would see the glory of God.”
Key word – Faith
Key word – Glory
Worldly principle – “Seeing is believing.” Spiritual principle – “Believing is seeing.”
How can we glorify God in our sufferings, trials?
Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God (Col?)
Sufferings, trials, give us patience, perseverance, develops our Christian character (hope).
Romans 5:2 – we rejoice in our sufferings…
James 1:2 – Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds…
Perseverance must finish its work so that we will be complete.
Suffering provides the encouragement of dependence on God to others. It helps us be free from worldly things when we focus our eyes on God for help. Sometimes it makes our desire for God, for eternity with him, stronger.
Lesson three – Jesus = person, God = person
A person’s treatment of another person is PERSONAL.
Jesus’ response to YOU is personal.
Matthew 8 – Centurion asked Jesus for help for his servant. Jesus said, “I will go.” Centurion said, “Not necessary, just say the word.” Jesus, “OK.”
John 4 – Royal official came to Jesus and said, “My son is sick.”
Jesus did not say, “I will go” but rather, “YOU may go, he is alive.”
John 11 – Lazarus died. Jesus waited.
Different way of handling each person, but it produced the BEST result for each person. Because Jesus’ response to YOU is personal.
“My testimony” will not be standard, the same, as other people’s.
v.35 – Jesus wept…(shortest verse in the Bible – possibly the most powerful, deepest…)
WHY weep? He KNEW He would raise Lazarus soon. He KNEW he would die on the cross as well as shed his tears.
Jesus wept – shows the humanity of our Savior. He entered ALL of human experience. He knew, He knows exactly how we feel. He has experienced ALL things we do, in a deeper way.
Isaiah 53:3? Jesus is a man of sorrow.
Hebrews 5:7 – summary of Jesus earthly life.
During his life, he offered up loud prayers and tears to God. He was heard because of reverent submission.
Nowhere, “Jesus laughed.”
Many times, “Jesus wept.” Luke – “Jesus wept” over Jerusalem
“Blessed are you who weep now, you will laugh later. But cursed are you who laugh now, you will weep.”
Did Jesus weep to make us laugh?
So, we also must weep to make someone laugh. Also, to make Jesus laugh.
Are you ready to weep to make Jesus laugh?
Your family, husband, wife, children, parents, can you weep for them?
A good example of this = Paul.
Whenever he saw Christ, he was full of joy – NO MATTER the circumstances – even in prison – and death. “I will rejoice in the Lord.”
Rejoicing is not emotion – but a matter of will.
“Rejoice, rejoice, I saw again rejoice.”
Whenever he saw the lost, he wept. “I have unceasing anguish in my heart…”
If we have joy in our own salvation, we can weep for others’ salvation.
v. 41 – 44
Key verses, v. 25, 26
Lazarus is not on earth, but in heaven. So why raise Lazarus? To proclaim v. 25, 26 for us.
Key verses – memorize them – v. 25,26 All day today, meditate on these verses.
“I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…Do you believe this?”
Do you believe? Can you draw this picture in your mind?
Lazarus body was already smelly, decaying, but Jesus called in a LOUD voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
And the dead man came out in his grave clothes (mummy?)
New flesh, new body, new bone – all restored. Even the dead hears Jesus’ voice. IF Jesus said, “The dead! Come out!” Then ALL would be resurrected.
Jesus voice is living, powerful, absolute, even the dead hear it.
1 Thess 4:16-17 – Key verses
Very important connection to these verses.
“On that day, the Lord Jesus will come down with a loud trumpet, loud voice, and the dead in Christ will rise first, and those who are alive will be caught up in the clouds to meet them, and we will be with the Lord forever.”
v. 25 – “I am the resurrection and the life”
1 Thess “On that day…”
Jesus = resurrection for the dead
Jesus = life for the living
But, we need not only concern ourselves with THAT day, but also THIS day.
Natural death is sleeping before God – waiting for our bodies to be raised. Even, our natural sleeping is a kind of death – a death exercise before God. Nobody can get up unless God provides the power to get up.
Who got up this morning?
Every morning you get up. Even though we get up, it’s not by accident. We got up this morning by the grace of God, by the power of Jesus’ resurrection.
Jesus says, “Apart from me, you can do NOTHING.”
Our hearts beat not by accident, because God makes them beat.
If God stops his working for making our hearts beating, our hearts will stop. Everyday is a new GIFT from God. Every morning we start with new mercies (Lamentations 3?)
If we start every morning with Jesus’ resurrection power and life joy, why not live the WHOLE day with this power and joy?
“I am the resurrection and the LIFE!”