Jesus Raises Lazarus - John 11:1
Jesus Raises Lazarus – John 11
11 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
The certain man was Lazarus who lived in Bethany, which is only two miles away from Jerusalem; the town of Mary and Martha. This town is only about five miles from Bethlehem, it is possible that this family either was related to, or knew Jesus and His family as growing up.
Martha is usually mentioned first in most Bible accounts, which causes me to believe she is the eldest child; and she seemed to have the “big sister” mentality about everything.
Her sister Mary is the one who sat at the feet of Jesus and learned from Him as He taught people in their house. John mentions that Mary anointed the Lord and wiped His feet with her hair, but this event does not appear until the next chapter. This confirms that John was compiling His book after all the events occurred.
Their brother Lazarus was very sick.
His sisters knew he needed a miracle, and sent to Jesus telling Him his friend is sick. Jesus was a day’s journey away beyond Jordan, because of the vile anger of the Jews against Him.
4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Jesus did not say Lazarus would not die, but would not result in ultimate death; but God would be glorified, and the Son of God glorified through it.
The main words here are sickness, death, glory, God, Son of God, glorified.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”
John knows this family is special to Jesus, and He loves them and enjoys coming to their house sharing meals and fellowshipping. My question is, “who does Jesus, not love?” The term here for love is agape; He loves them with a God love. The kind of love that accepts just as we are, and seeking the very best for the one loved.
When sickness enters our homes, we are not to conclude that God is displeased with us. Here sickness was directly linked with His love, rather than His anger. It took one day for the message to reach Jesus, and Lazarus may have died before it arrived. Jesus continues two more days and then tells His disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.”
God’s delays are not God’s denials. If our prayers are not answered immediately, perhaps He is teaching us to wait, and if we wait patiently, we will find that He will answer our prayers in a much more marvelous way, than we ever anticipated. Not even His love for Martha, Mary, and Lazarus could force Jesus to act ahead of the proper time. Everything He did was in obedience to His Father’s will for Him, and in keeping with the divine timetable.
The last two encounters in Jerusalem ended with Jews picking up stones to kill Jesus.
8 The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”
His disciples remember the close call, and remind Jesus, the Jews were going to stone You, and You are going back again? They were aware of the Jews murderous intentions, and know they would be guilty by association by being with Jesus. Lately reveals that it was just recently they were trying to kill Him.
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 one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”
Jesus told them Lazarus sleeps, and He is going to wake him up out of sleep. Then He speaks of His hours.
Jesus is saying that there was an allotted or appointed time for him to live
and do his Father's will, represented here by the twelve hours of the day. I must continue as long as I have time, or walking in the light of the Father’s protection from the evil. As a traveler He must keep fulfilling His mission while He is here.
The hour of darkness is coming, which means His death. Those not doing the Father’s will are walking in darkness, because the light of the world is not in him. It is easy to stumble when we are walking in self-will, because we do not have divine guidance to illuminate our pathway.
Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Nevertheless Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent all of you may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him
Using the figure of speech of sleep, His disciples understand Lazarus to be resting in refreshing sleep and said if he is able to rest/sleep, he shall get well. Jesus spoke of Lazarus’ death and told them plainly, Lazarus is dead. How did He know? He is God and knows everything.
The next verse is surprising, “I am glad, I was not there.” The reason I am glad I was not there, is for your sake, so that your belief in Me may be strengthened. Regardless of whether you understand, we are going to go to him.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
Thomas was a twin, the meaning of Didymus. That is where we get the term “ditto” or the same, or just like the other. Thomas will be labeled “Doubting Thomas” after the resurrection, he would not believe his fellow disciples testimony that Jesus was raised from the dead. “Let us go with Him that we may die with Him.” They believed Jesus would die by going back around Jerusalem, and since they were His disciples and with Him, they would probably also be executed.
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. 18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever you will ask of God, God will give it you.
On their arrival, they find Lazarus died four days earlier. This emphasizes the miracle was not a resuscitation. It was and still is the custom there, for the dead to be buried the same day they die.
Since Jerusalem was so near, many of the Jews came to comfort Martha and Mary. Even poor families at that time were expected to hire two pipers and one mourner; they did not know the house or mourning would soon be turned into a house of joy.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. “If You had been here, my brother would not have died.” She believes that if He had come soon enough, He could have kept Lazarus from dying, and she is absolutely correct. Or He could have just spoken the word from Bethabara, and Lazarus would not have died.
Martha exhibits faith in Jesus, that God will give Him whatsoever He asks. She was not expecting resurrection, but knew Jesus could help, somehow.
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Trying to bolster her faith, Jesus affirms her brother will rise again.
24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
She knows her brother will rise, some day; not today. She mentions the future resurrection day.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
It is as if the Lord had said, “You do not understand Me, Martha. I do not mean that Lazarus will rise again at the last day. I am God, and I have the power of resurrection and of life in My hand. I can raise Lazarus from the dead right now, and will do it.”
This is the 5th of the “I am” statements. I am the bread. Light, door, the Good Shepherd. Now He says He is the resurrection and the life, He has the power to give life and resurrect, right now.
Do you believe this? The most important question of all time, do you BELIEVE this?
That Jesus is the resurrection and life? That resurrection and eternal life can only come through Him.
Her belief is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God who is to come into the world. The reason John wrote this gospel, that people will believe and be saved. The Bible says weBelieve with the heart unto righteousness, and confess with the mouth unto salvation. God must cause our heart to believe Him, and He counts that to us for righteousness; and when we confess this to the world, we know we have salvation; and He transforms us from sinners into saints and children of God.
[28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” 32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Martha goes and calls Mary to come to Jesus, she says the Teacher has come and is calling for you. She arises quickly and goes to Him. Everyone that is to be saved, must come to meet Jesus.
The Jews saw her leave quickly and figured he was going to the tomb to mourn, so they follow. She came to where Jesus was; fell down at His feet, a place which she enjoyed before; but now she speaks the same words her sister accused Jesus of: not being there for His friend.
This is probably what they said to each other over the past few days, “If the Master had been here, Lazarus would not have died.” This adds to her grief, knowing Jesus came too late; or did He?
33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus was deeply moved, seeing the grieving and weeping, revealing His humanity, then asking where have you laid the body?
Come and see, and Jesus wept over seeing the hypocritical actions of the Jews, and what sin had done to His perfect creation and to His Sheep. Finally Jesus beaks down weeping, and the people attributed it to His great love for His friend.
Then others who knew of Jesus’ miracles wondered why He did not keep Lazarus from dying. Hold on to your fork, folks…
38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
If Jesus had the power to resurrect Lazarus, why did He ask the people to take away the stone?
First, He wants us to do what is in our power to do His will; and second, to let Lazarus out. “He stinketh already.” Nobody has ever been raised from the dead after the body had decayed away.
40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying.
Jesus reminds her to believe, reminds us to believe, and see the glory of God.
And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”
Jesus prayer is to confirm He has been sent by the Father, and He is doing His will; so they may believe. Salvation comes by faith; believing Jesus is the Son of God, who came in the flesh, died upon Calvary’s cross, laid in a borrowed tomb, and rose again on the third day.
43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
Jesus had to limit this resurrection to Lazarus by calling his name; had He said, “Come forth” then all who hear His voice in the graves everywhere would have risen.
Can you imagine the anticipation in Martha and Mary? From the dark cave comes a figure wrapped in grave clothes, with a separate cloth covering the face, shimmying forward into the light.
Loose him, and let him go; Only Christ can raise the dead, but He gives us the task of removing stones of stumbling, and of unwinding the grave clothes of prejudice and superstition. We are to put off the dead things of this world, and put on the righteousness of Christ.
WAY? Do you believe? Romans 10:10 says: For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Has your belief been accepted as righteousness? Then have you made a clear confession of that faith by what you say and what you do that proves you are saved? If not, you can do that right now, right where you are. ABC of salvation Admit, Believe, Confess.