Walking Through Ephesians

Walking Through Ephesians

“Raising Lazarus”

Categories: A Month with Jesus

Raising Lazarus - John 11

Remember in John 10 Jesus spoke for the last time in a public way in Jerusalem. When He had spoken, they had taken up stones to stone Him.  It was Israel’s ultimate rejection. “We don’t want You.  We don’t want to have anything to do with You.  Leave us!”  And He did.  He went to the other side of the Jordan where the rulers in Jerusalem had no jurisdiction.  There He stayed out of their hands and had a mini-revival.  Many were coming to Him and many were believing.  

The stark unbelief of the authorities had never manifested itself more clearly, but God was not going to allow the glory of His Son to be dimmed one bit.  So, the tone of John 11 is almost one of divine defiance, where Jesus said, “You rejected Me.  You didn’t want to have anything to do with Me.  But You cannot stop why I’m here, or what I’m about to do.”  And the raising of Lazarus, the Jews were even more determined to destroy Jesus. 

When Lazarus died, why did Jesus say that Lazarus' sickness was not unto death? He knew He would raise him and God would be glorified. Jesus did not say Lazarus would not die, but only that the final outcome would not be death.

First of all, Jesus said, “It’s for God’s glory and that the Son of God may be glorified by it” (John 11:4).  Why did Jesus raise Lazarus?  It was not for the life of Lazarus.  It wasn’t even for the love of Mary and Martha.  Jesus raised Lazarus for the glory of God.    When Jesus said, “When God’s glory is manifested the Son is going to be glorified.”  In John’s gospel, His being glorified always refers to the cross. Remember Jesus’ prayer in John 17:1; “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son.”  

A second reason Jesus waited was so that His disciples would believe (John 11:14-15). Ultimately, faith in Christ sees Him as the conqueror of death.  We know Jesus could have an answer for a lot of things, but if He doesn’t have an answer for death He’s not worthy of us calling Him “Lord.”  But Jesus said, “When this is over you’re going to believe like you never have.”  

They were going to witness an event that was going to move them to believe even more firmly.  He said, “I’m going to go and I’m going to show you God in action against death, so that you will believe.”

Notice that friendship with Jesus does not protect us from sorrow, does it?  There was not a family on this earth loved more by Jesus than Mary, Martha and Lazarus, but they still got sick, and they were still dying.  They said, “Lord, the one that You love is sick” (11:3).  Notice, they didn’t ask Jesus to do anything.  They didn’t invite Him to come back.  Maybe they realized that to invite Him back to Bethany was to invite Him back to an execution.  Maybe they just assumed that if He heard about the need, His concern would compel Him to come.  

They didn’t say, “Heal him.”  They just informed Jesus of the situation.  They just presented their need without any instructions.  Sometimes all we know to say is, “Lord, here is the need 

They base their appeal on His love. They don’t say, “Lord, the one who loves you is sick.”  They said, “The one whom You love is sick.”  The Lord does not bless us in proportion to our love for Him.  Jesus doesn’t say, “I’m going to work in your life, because of your love for Me.”  But Jesus says, “No, I work in your life because I love you.”  And so they say, “Lord, the one You love is sick.”  

Prayer: Lord, thank you for loving us. Thank you for Your glory, might and power. We look forward to the day You raise us up.