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The Raising of Lazarus (Part 1) John 11:1-10

29/11/2014

The Raising of Lazarus (Part 1)

Where Jesus loves Lazarus so much that he waits two days!
Text: John 11:1-10
We are looking at an incident from the earthly ministry of Jesus, one that brought great glory to God, so amazing was it. It’s hard to believe that when God sent his Son into the world to redeem mankind, he was a homeless man, an itinerant teacher and preacher. Matthew 8:19
But there was a family who appear in John’s gospel, who seem to have been particularly close to Jesus. So we are going to explore this particular close relationship with Jesus, and how his fondness for these people brought Glory to God. But first note:-

1. A Careful Account! v1-2

The Gospels are an historical record – a record of facts, and the care that John takes with this incident is a fine example of the precision used in the Gospel account:-

  1. A certain man. This man was called Lazarus – but Lazarus was a very common name, the Bible mentions another Lazarus in Luke 16. Lazarus was just a shortened version of Eleazer, a name that meant ‘God is my help’. So John had to pin this particular Lazarus down, so that the witness would be accurate. He was Lazarus of Bethany.
  2. A certain place. This man lived at Bethany, but there where at least two Bethanys. One was on the east bank of the Jordan, (John 1:19), but this Bethany was nearer to Jerusalem, as John faithfully records in V18
  3. A certain family. Just to be absolutely sure, that this Lazarus of Bethany was the person involved in this amazing miracle, John remind us which family he belongs to. Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary –

Do you see the precision that is being used here. This is very important, for like all of Christ’s miracles, there will be those who will try to cast doubt upon them. There must be no doubt, no confusion, no possibility of going for testimony to the wrong people. This miracle is recorded with accurate precision.

2. A Cared-for Brother! v3-6
So Lazarus is sick, – we don’t know what illness had afflicted him. But we do know that it was serious. So serious that death was imminent. Lazarus would not recover.

  • The Sister’s Prayer! The two sisters knew that Jesus could heal their brother, after all Martha says so in 11:21 But notice that in their message delivered to the Lord, they ask for nothing! Let’s look at that prayer.
    • He knows. – Look Lord! But how could he, when he was miles away. Please be aware of an important doctrine. When God came into this world in the person of Christ, he never ceased to be God!
    • He Loves. He whom you love! How much Jesus loved this man. But don’t be surprised at that. He loves you in exactly the same way, he loved you so much that he gave everything for you.
    • He cares. Is sick. Again, notice the sickness is not specified. There is no complaining here, no grumbling about these circumstances, no blaming God, just a calm statement of fact, laid prayerfully before the Lord. Lazarus is sick, so the simple, most obvious answer is just to lay it all before the Lord in prayer, for he cares! 1 Peter 5:7  These sisters were content to leave their troubles with the Lord, and let Him decide what is best.
  • The purpose of Lazarus’ Resuscitation. As we have noted already Jesus was aware of Lazarus’ illness, and Jesus knew WHY Lazarus was sick. It was not a terminal illness in the long run at all, it was so that through his illness, God would be glorified. God’s timing is always perfect, and always for his glory. Many people find this part strange. When Jesus heard that his beloved friend was ill, the brother of two sisters whom he loved and cared for very much, (in fact the literal rendition of the text here would be, “He held them in loving esteem”) he didn’t rush to his bedside. He waited for two days. Why did he wait? Because God’s timing is always perfect. God would indeed be glorified.

3. A Critical Destination! v7-10
So, after the two day delay, Jesus declares to the disciples that they are to go back to Judea. It was not really what they wanted to hear.
The undeterred Saviour! The disciples were worried. The last trip to Judea had resulted in a near riot, as the Pharisees had tried to detain Jesus and put him to death. Jesus had evaded them and gone to Jordan. But Bethany was in Judea, and Lazarus needed the Saviour’s ministry, and he was undeterred by the fear of man. This was because:-
The time for work is limited! The Jews measured time in twelve hour blocks – stretchable hours! So in Summer an hour lasted longer than in winter, but there always 12 hours in a day, and twelve in a night. When the day was over, work ceased, lest in the profound darkness of the eastern night, one should fall and injure oneself. Jesus himself refers to this again in John 9:4 The Saviour’s time in this world is limited, not by threat of violence from the Pharisees, or the Romans or the traitor in the midst, – but by his mission, which would end with the Cross, where he would willingly lay down his life for sinners. John 10:17

Application.
We can fully trust God’s Word.
We can rest secure in the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows all about us, even before we pray, that he loves us with intense love, and that he truly cares for us – more than we can ever appreciate.
He came to where we were, and it was a great cost. Even as Jesus came, in the Father’s good time, to the grave of Lazarus, even so Christ came for us, to give us new life. Galatians 4:4
The time given to all of us, to use the gifts that God has given to us. God has already pre-ordained our path, and his will for us, – our response is to humbly submit to His will.

© Bob McEvoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From → John

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