John 11:1-4 and 11:6 and 11:17, John 11:39 NKJV
John 11:25 and John 11:43-44 NKJV
John 20:13-14 and John 20:16 NKJV
Romans 6:5-7 NKJV
I Peter 1:3-5 NKJV
From the Beginning
It’s an unknown fact why the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead is only included in the Gospel of John. It’s one of the most powerful miracles in the Gospels so we might expect it to be included in every account, but only John wrote about this miracle. I believe it’s possible that John was the only Gospel author present for this miracle.
Notice in John 11:1-4 it is written “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 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.”
The sisters Mary and Martha (along with their brother Lazarus) were friends of Jesus and his disciples. They knew Jesus well so it’s interesting that in verse three of John 11 the two sisters did not plead with Jesus to get Him to heal their brother.
They did NOT say, “You must come quickly.”
They didn’t mention a need for Jesus to actually lay hands on their brother Lazarus. They simply told Jesus that the man He loved was ill. That would suggest their faith in Jesus was strong and they didn’t necessarily believe Jesus would need to come to Bethany.
Of course, Mary and Martha had no idea what kind of miracle Jesus was about to do. When Jesus replied it wasn’t a sickness that would lead to death they would not have expected their brother to die. In John 11:6 we learn, “So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.”
Jesus knew what was about to happen.
Jesus intentionally waited 2 more days. By the time Jesus arrived to Bethany Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days (verse 17). The body would have been decayed, and would have had the stench of death on him in the tomb. In John 11:39 when Jesus ordered the men to remove the stone that covered the tomb Martha warned there would be a stench.
The sisters had already accepted the fact that their brother was gone and he would be resurrected on the last day (verse 24).
Jesus knew all of that.
He knew they did not expect to see their brother walk again on this earth. Then in
John 11:25 Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.“
In John 11:43-44 Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb and Lazarus walked out with the burial wrapping still around him.
No one expected Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead.
Likewise, when Jesus breathed His last breath, no one expected to see Him again on this earth. After the crucifixion the disciples scattered. They went into hiding. From Friday afternoons until Sunday morning they grieved the death of their beloved Jesus.
Then early on Sunday morning we read in John 20 (other accounts are found in Matthew 28, Mark 16, and Luke 24) that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and while she was weeping two angels spoke with her and in John 20:13 we read, “they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Then Jesus appeared.
In John 20:14 we are told “Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.” In John 20:16 when Jesus spoke and said her name she knew it was Him. She knew he was raised from the dead and she ran to tell the disciples she had seen Jesus.
Later Jesus appeared to the disciples and they, too knew that Jesus had conquered death. Jesus-God Himself conquered death.
God often does the most unexpected things (even today).
Nothing happened the way they thought it would. They didn’t expect Jesus to be arrested. They didn’t expect Him to be crucified. They didn’t expect Him to die, and they certainly didn’t expect Him to rise again.
But He did.
Jesus set the example. Jesus showed us how and why.
Paul wrote in Romans 6:5-7, “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”
Because of the resurrection of Jesus we have been set free.
Because of the resurrection, we receive the ultimate Blessing:
I Peter 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Because of the resurrection, we have HOPE.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Embrace Hope
Take a few minutes sitting with God to thank Him for that Hope. Ask God what He has for you today.
In God, Deborah