John 11:1-8

A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 2 This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”

4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” 5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days. 7 Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

8 But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago, the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”

John assumes his readers have already read Mark’s Gospel (Mark 14) as he is reminding his readers who Mary is.

By the time Jesus got the message, Lazarus was already dead. He spoke the truth when he was saying, this sickness will not end in his death and he tells them exactly why in that this was meant for God’s glory……Lazarus, Martha, and Mary were all children of the kingdom, not perfect but God had a plan…Notice it says Jesus loved them yet he allowed them to walk through this….God’s ways are higher than our ways and when we come to the place of completely trusting him our world changes

Satan’s reach will always be defeated in our lives and we need to pray to see every situation through the eyes of Jesus….Jesus stayed away long enough to allow Lazarus to be in the tomb for 4 days.

Jesus had just been in Jerusalem, which is only two miles from Bethany; they had tried to stone him there, a couple of times. The disciples only saw the potential threat; but Jesus saw the opportunity as crowds were beginning to gather for Passover. Sometimes, God will allow seemingly bad things to happen in our lives, but they will always turn out for our good and His glory if we let them.

John 11: 9-14

Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. 10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” 11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”

12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.

14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”

Jesus is trying to remind us that as long as we are doing God’s will, we are walking in the light and protected by the Lord until it is our time to go be with Him. It is only when we step out of the light we need to worry because we walk in darkness.

Jesus said Lazarus was only sleeping in that he meant he was on his way to awaken him. After Jesus’ resurrection, you will see how the New Testament lists those who have died as sleeping. Because they didn’t quite get it Jesus had to be clear. They will take part in the raising of Lazarus.

John 11:16

Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”

Thomas is known as doubting Thomas because of his doubt of Jesus’ resurrection but I believe Thomas was one of the most passionate and this phrase is spoken as, full of passion and actually prophetic, as all but John would surrender their lives for the cause of Christ.

John 11:17-19

When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18 Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss.

Because of the heat in Israel, when someone died, they were generally buried that day. This verse tells us that Lazarus had been dead for four days, actually before the message got to Jesus. Professional mourners were hired for the first three days then family and friends would arrive on the fourth day. Because this was Passover and Jerusalem was so close many travelling from around the country were coming to mourn with Mary and Martha

John 11: 20-23

When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha was not criticizing Jesus for not being there, she knew by the time the message got to Jesus that Lazarus was already dead. She was merely proclaiming her belief in Jesus’ healing power.   Jesus did not say, “Your brother will rise again!” the writers added “again” to help clarify but I think it only confuses. He stated emphatically that, “Your brother will rise!”

John 11: 24-26

24“Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”

25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

Martha was saying, she believed that Lazarus would be raised with everyone else at the end of the age; but Jesus was speaking very clearly about our destiny as children of God.

This is one of the most comforting and powerful statements in the Bible. The question is do you believe it? If so, you should have no fear of death. Next week we are going to deal with the scripture passage that helps us understand more of the afterlife than many other scriptures.

Jesus is saying your body will cease to function but you are much more than your body because you will never die!  You see every person lives for eternity. Hopefully, most are in heaven but some in Hades (the bad side of Hades known as Tartarus) and eventually hell. You were born to live forever. And we will on the new earth and with the new heavens. This life is all about two things, getting to know and understand the Lord and making sure others get to know and understand him as well. Death has no control over a Christ-follower it is only a doorway to what we were created for!

John 11:27-28

Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” 28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.”

Martha was half correct here. Jesus wasn’t asking if she believed he had the power to raise Lazarus but did she believe He was God and in control of all things….Romans 8:28 was not written yet, “all things work together for good for them that love God and are called according to His purposes. She was half correct because she believed Jesus was the Messiah her “half” was she believed he came from God but did not get yet that He is God.

The question for us today, despite all that we are walking through, all we are facing, the loss, wounds, hurts, sin battles, need for strengthening, guidance, help, deliverance,  do we really believe Jesus is God, that he cares, loves us enough even despite our misunderstanding Him at times, that he has only our best planned. 

He is the author of all good gifts

He is the one who loves you more than anyone

He is your deliverer

He is your strength

He is your defender

He has already defeated your greatest enemy

John 11: 29-34

So Mary immediately went to him. 30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them.

This was typical of the culture, many had come to mourn with Mary and Martha and they would stay with them wherever they went. Mary is not criticizing Jesus merely exclaiming that she understood he had the power to heal. Jesus got angry….do you see that? But he was not angry at the people but the futility of the scene, he came there so the Father would receive glory and was going to do something never done before. Lazarus was long since buried, he was decaying yet Jesus was not only going to raise him from the dead but restore the decaying flesh and organs. He was angry at the hopelessness of the scene and what had happened in the beginning of time to create such a hopelessness and death. He is going to prove death does not have the victory over those who believe ever again.

John 11:35 – 39

They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”

38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

Why would Jesus weep? He knew what he came there to do? He knew his friend was going to rise again? He knew death didn’t have the victory nor the disease that took him? He wept because of the brokenness of mankind over their fear of death. He felt their pain and it broke his heart, even though he knew what he was going to do. He feels the same for you. As you go through tough places, it breaks His heart for you.  He told his disciples to roll the stone away…..he is God he could have said to the stone move and it would have moved but most times he expects us to walk in obedience to Him and His word to get things done…We are told Lazarus stinks because it further emphasizes that he was rotting in the grave.

John 11:40-44

Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

Jesus didn’t need to say a word but he prayed the way he did so that everyone would understand His relationship with the Father. There were dozens, perhaps well over 100 mourners there who would be witnesses to a rotting man coming back to life.

In Just a few days this very same crowd who witnessed this miracle would be part of condemning him to death. He shouted Lazarus because had he just said come forth, every dead person would have been raised. Even though Lazarus was raised from the dead he was still was bound in His grave clothes. This says something to us.

We all have been raised from death unto life because of Jesus speaking life to us. We have been set from, but have we chosen to be set free from our grave clothes? What are our grave clothes?

The habits, limitations, wounds, self-assurances, ignorance, lack of love and faith, and appetites that we have carried with us after our salvation.

Today we need to grasp we have been raised from the dead, not to live the old life or even a better version of our old life but instead to live a new life full of power and freedom.

I believe Jesus is still mourning the human condition especially in the church, the church is not dead but he is shouting “Church come forth” because there is much to be done.