Raising Lazarus

Now a man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. So the sisters sent a message to him: “Lord, the one you love is sick…” When Jesus heard it, he said,

“This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Anyone seeing what had happened would have said this sickness had ended in death. But Jesus…!

Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was sick, he stayed two more days in the place where he was.

You would think that, loving His friends as He did, He would have dropped everything and run to Bethany to heal Lazarus. That’s how we sometimes think when we ask Him to do something for us that we feel is urgent. But He saw it differently.

Then after that, he said to the disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again…” Jesus then told them plainly,

“Lazarus has died. I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.”

The disciples didn’t understand. But they soon would.

…When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days… Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Yet even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you…” Jesus said to her,

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world…”

The occasion for Martha’s profession of faith in Jesus. More important, even, than healing her brother. Eternally important.

As soon as Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and told him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died!”

Sometimes when Jesus doesn’t do what we expect or ask Him to, we can be hurt, not understanding why. We must remember, at those times especially, that “… My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways. This is the Lord ’s declaration. For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8‭-‬9 CSB) Mary and Martha didn’t want their brother to die. But Jesus wanted him to live again! The end result was pretty much the same, but oh, how different!

“…Where have you put him?”

he asked. “Lord,” they told him, “come and see.” Jesus wept… Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.

Why did Jesus weep? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but it is obvious how much Jesus cared for this family, so He would quite naturally be empathetic to their grief. I have been to funerals where I didn’t really know the person who passed, but shed tears for a friend’s grief. That is “weeping with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

“Remove the stone,”

Jesus said. Martha, the dead man’s sister, told him, “Lord, there is already a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her,

“Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes and said,

“Father, I thank you that you heard me. I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so that they may believe you sent me.”

After he said this, he shouted with a loud voice,

“Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and let him go.”
John 11:43‭-‬44 CSB

“Unwrap him and let him go.”

Therefore, many of the Jews who came to Mary and saw what he did believed in him.

Jesus had raised a man it was known had been dead for four days! Of course they believed in Him!

But then…

“…some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and were saying, “What are we going to do since this man is doing many signs? If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

John 11

Some were excited about what God was doing in their midst. Others just wanted Jesus to go away and let them keep running things the way they wanted to.

If Jesus were to appear today, and the situation were the same as then, which group do you think you would choose to be in?

Categories: About Jesus