JESUS RAISES LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD

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    [John:11:1-46].

    Lesson No.: 
    145
    Class: 
    Junior
    Memory Verse: 

    "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25).

    Notes: 

    Sickness
    Jesus had visited in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Martha had busied herself to prepare and serve a meal to Jesus ([Luke:10:40]). It was Mary who had sat at Jesus' feet to learn of Him ([Luke:10:39]). In humble service, Mary anointed His feet with costly oil ([John:12:3]). No doubt Jesus had been with this family often, for He loved them.

    Into this home which had entertained Jesus, and into the life of a man whom Jesus loved, came sickness. We read in [Ecclesiastes:9:2], "All things come alike to all." Sickness is not heaped upon the ungodly, nor are the godly spared from being sick. When a Christian is sick, he trusts in the Lord for healing as the Bible instructs him to do. "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray . . . Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up" (James:5:13 15).

    When Lazarus became sick, his sisters sent word to Jesus, just as we do when we pray. Jesus told the disciples that Lazarus' sickness was for the glory of God. He said that Lazarus' sickness would not result in death but that the Son of God would receive glory.

    Delay
    One might think that Jesus would go to Lazarus immediately. That was not Jesus' way in this case. For two days, He remained in the same place, so far as we know, before He even mentioned about going to Lazarus. Perhaps this was to test the faith of Lazarus and his sisters. We do not know that Jesus even sent word to them, but His delay did not mean that He would not go. Without a doubt, by Christ's delay, God received more glory than if Lazarus had been healed soon after he had been taken sick. Jesus said that the delay was intended to give more faith and to deepen it in their hearts.

    Lazarus could have been healed by Jesus' power without Jesus even being there, for others were healed by Jesus' word. When the servant of a centurion was sick, his master went to Jesus saying, "Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." Jesus marvelled at the centurion's faith and told him that it would be done as he believed. The servant was healed that very hour ([Matthew:8:5-13]). At another time, Jesus healed the Syrophenician woman's daughter without being near her. The mother went to Jesus in behalf of her daughter. "She besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter" (Mark:7:26). Jesus honoured her faith and told her to go her way, for "her daughter was made whole from that very hour" (Matthew:15:28). The mother went home and found it so.

    Even today people are healed who live so many miles from the church that they cannot be anointed and prayed over. They send in a request for prayer and God's people pray for their healing. Many, many people have been healed through faith in Jesus even though they were in far distant places. But Jesus did not raise up Lazarus in this manner.

    Jesus in Danger
    When Jesus told the disciples that they were going to Lazarus, they objected and reminded Jesus that the Jews had sought to stone Him (John:8:59]; [John:10:31]). Jesus cared little about danger when there was work to do. His work had to be done while there was an opportunity, for He said that night and darkness would come when no man could work ([John:9:4]).

    In the face of danger, Jesus went to Lazarus, who had by this time died. Jesus knew that it was time for the glory of God to be shown. Jesus told the disciples that Lazarus was asleep and that He would awaken him from the sleep of death. The disciples went with Jesus, not knowing but that He and they would be stoned by the Jews.

    In Bethany
    Jesus did not go to Mary and Martha only to comfort them. He had something greater in mind a miracle for the glory of God. Their home was one of sadness, for Lazarus had been buried for four days already. Many of their friends were there to comfort them but they were looking for the best Friend, Jesus.

    Martha went to meet Jesus. She knew that He could have prevented her brother's death. She believed that she would see Lazarus again on the Resurrection Day. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Jesus had all power in Heaven and in earth ([Matthew:28:18]) power to make alive as well as power to heal the sick. Martha said she believed that He was the Son of God and that His prayer could get anything.

    Martha went to her sister with the message that the Master was there and called for her. Mary went to Jesus, acknowledging her faith in His power to heal: If Jesus had been there before, she would have asked Him to heal her brother; but she thought that He had come too late.

    They went to show Jesus the place where Lazarus was laid. Jesus' heart of compassion was touched as He saw Mary and the others weeping. He was the: Son of God but He was also human, and showed His grief, for He wept as He went to Lazarus' grave.

    At the Grave
    A sorrowful group stood by Lazarus' tomb that day. Little did they realize what a wonderful miracle was about to take place. At first they did not co operate with Jesus when He told them to remove the stone at the door of the grave. They thought that it was too late, for surely by that time the body of Lazarus would be corrupted.

    Upon one occasion Jesus did not perform miracles because of the unbelief of the people (Matthew:13:58). When Jairus' daughter was reported dead, Jesus said to her father, "Fear not: believe only" (Luke:8:50). To the father of a mentally sick child Jesus said, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark:9:23). There is a saying that seeing is believing, but Jesus turned it around and said that if they believed they would see. Jesus said, "All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matthew:21:22). People today would see more of the glory of God revealed if they had more faith in God.

    Jesus' words encouraged those who stood around Lazarus' tomb, and they removed the stone. Jesus lifted up His eyes heavenward and prayed not a prayer of necessity but one of thanks that God had already heard Him and that He was about to receive glory from those about Him.

    Perhaps the disciples were talking among themselves: "Did He not say that Lazarus was asleep, and that He would awaken him? Said He not, that Lazarus' sickness was not unto death? What did He mean, for was not Lazarus dead and buried?" They were soon to find out what Jesus meant.

    New Life
    They heard Jesus say with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." They saw the one who had been dead for four days, come forth bound hand and foot with his grave-clothes. At Jesus' command they loosed him. Lazarus was alive by the power of Jesus. What rejoicing there must have been that day! There had been weeping and sadness until Jesus came. He turned it all to happiness by the words He spoke. Truly, because of their faith in Jesus' power, Lazarus lived, though he had been dead.

    Jesus' power did not end there. Many people who were dead in sin ([Colossians:2:13]) heard Jesus speak their names. They came forth to walk a new life ([Romans:6:4]), for they believed that in Jesus is the resurrection and the life. They had been bound hand and foot; but with the Psalmist they can say to the Lord, "Thou hast loosed my bonds" (Psalm:116:16). What Jesus did for Lazarus in the natural He will do today in the spiritual sense.

    Every sinner is like Lazarus when he was in the grave dead, bound, and in the dark. Every Christian is like Lazarus after he was raised from the grave he has life. He is loosed from the bonds of his sins. He is in the light and walks in the light ([John:8:12]).

    Lazarus' sickness was for the glory of God. Surely, raising the dead was greater than preventing death. Many Jews had gone to comfort Mary and Martha. They gathered with the others at the graveside. They had seen the miracle working power of Jesus. Many did more than see they believed in Jesus. Many saw, but only those who believed received eternal life ([John:3:36]).

    Questions: 

    1. Why was Lazarus sick?
    2. What did his sisters do?
    3. How long was Lazarus dead?
    4. How was he raised to life?
    5. Why were there many people gathered around the tomb?
    6. How did God receive glory?
    7. What are some promises given to those who believe on the Lord?