John Chapter 11
The Death of Lazarus:
(Read John 11:1-16)
Jesus enjoyed a special relationship with Lazarus and his sisters. This family provided friendship to Jesus in a world that was hostile to him. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he waited two days longer to respond. God does all things well and his ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). He does all things in his time for his purpose. This is the last miracle Jesus did before His crucifixion and the highest point in His public ministry. Lazarus died and his body was buried. Jesus responded by saying that this sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God. Sometimes God permits sickness and death in order to reveal His glory. In this case raising Lazarus manifested the greater glory. Why did Jesus who loved them delayed and allowed them to go through such pain and difficulty? Because Jesus wants to reveal his compassion and power in a glorious way. David said, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted to learn His statues"(Psalms 119:71). God allows sufferings to warn us of our failures and wake us up from our spiritual slumber (Hebrew 12:11). It is for our good and for His glory (John 9:3). God comforts us in our sufferings so that we can comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4). We are commanded to comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18). We should pray for those who suffer and help them. God allows trials to bring us to maturity (James 1:2-4). The gospel is the story of God doing all things well. God's ways are much better.
Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life”:
(Read John 11:17-27)
Martha and Mary questioned Jesus' decision to delay his visit. The delay is the hardest lesson to learn. God's plans sometimes do not make sense to us. Jesus never yielded to human pressure but did all things according to Father's timetable. His timing always brings the best result. Jesus said Lazarus has fallen asleep. For believers’ death is often referred to as sleep. When believers die, they enter into a restful and conscious life in heaven (Philippians 1:23). At last Jesus arrived at the home He loved the most. Jesus assured the grieving Martha that her brother will rise again. Jesus said to her "I am the resurrection and life. whoever believes in me, though he may die, yet shall he live” (John 10:25). If we believe in Christ for eternal life while we are still alive, we will never die spiritually. This is His fifth "I AM" statement Jesus claimed. Martha and Mary would soon find this to be true. Death is not the last word in the Christian vocabulary. Christians may go through death, but they will also experience resurrection when Christ returns (1 Corinthians 15: 54). When Jesus saw Mary weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and wept. Jesus grieved over the result of sin in this fallen world. He was truly human. Jesus was willing to identify with those who suffer emotionally and physically. He is able to deliver us from sin and death (Hebrews 2:14, 15; 5:7). He is our great high priest who can sympathize with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15, 16). Jesus identifies with us in our pain and loss. What a compassionate Savior! Do you know this great Savior?
If you believe you would see the Glory of God:
(Read John 11:28-57)
Jesus came to the tomb and ordered the stone to roll away. Jesus said to Martha "If you believe you would see the glory of God". The world says, "Show us, then we believe". Christ said, "Believe, then you will see the glory of God". Jesus wanted the people to believe that Father had sent him. With a loud voice Jesus said, "Lazarus come forth". Lazarus came out still bound by the grave cloths (John 11:44). Jesus said, “Loose him, and let him go”. Here we see the picture of a believer made alive in Christ. We are saved but still bound by the grave cloth of sinful flesh. We need to be set free to serve the Lord. Only Christ is able to set us free from the penalty and power of sin (John 8:31, 32). The resurrection of Lazarus was only a preview of Jesus' power over sin and death. Christ's resurrection gives hope to all who have put their faith in Christ. Many believed in Jesus when they saw the miracle. Christ’s resurrection power is now working in every believer (Romans 8:10-11). One day we will experience the fullness of our new life with the resurrection of our bodies. Jewish leaders became angry and planned to kill Jesus. Caiaphas, the high priest said, "Jesus must die for the people, not that the whole nation should (John 11:50). It was an unintentional prophecy that Christ would die for the entire nation. With this incident Christ removed Himself from the public view. People longed to see Jesus and wondered whether He would come to the feast. God was working out his plan at all times. Do you know Christ as your Savior? Someone has said, “To believe Christ is to know God (John 8:19; 14:7). To see Christ is to see God (John 14:9). To receive Christ is to receive God (Mark 9:37). To honor Christ is to honor God (John 5:23)". In the resurrection of Lazarus, we see that Christ did all things according to his timetable and for God's glory. He is the Lord of compassion and understands what it's like to have a broken heart. Jesus did miracles so that Father was glorified, and people believed in Him (John 20:30-31). May God help my readers to have a personal relationship with Christ. Pray that God would increase your faith.