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LAZARUS Sermon

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Reminders about the purpose of John

Deity of Christ
Pastor in Asia Minor

Weirsby

In this chapter is the seventh of the miracles John recorded. Here we see salvation pictured as resurrection from the dead, the giving of life to the dead. Use your concordance and see how much John has to say about life; he uses the word thirty-six times. Lazarus represents the salvation of the lost sinner in seven ways. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

11 Now a man was sick, Lazarus, from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Him: “Lord, the one You love is sick.”

4 When Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after that, He said to the disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.”

8 “Rabbi,” the disciples told Him, “just now the Jews tried to stone You, and You’re going there again?”

9 “Aren’t there 12 hours in a day?” Jesus answered. “If anyone walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 If anyone walks during the night, he does stumble, because the light is not in him.” 11 He said this, and then He told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m on My way to wake him up.”

12 Then the disciples said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well.”

13 Jesus, however, was speaking about his death, but they thought He was speaking about natural sleep. 14 So Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus has died. 15 I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (called “Twin”) said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go so that we may die with Him.”

I. He Was Dead (11:14)

The unsaved person is not just sick; he or she is spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1–3; Col. 2:13). When a person is physically dead, she does not respond to such things as food, temperature, or pain. When a person is spiritually dead, he does not respond to spiritual things. She has no interest in God, the Bible, Christians, or church until the Holy Spirit begins to work in her heart. God warned Adam that disobedience would bring death (Gen. 2:15–17)—physical death (the separation of the soul from the body) and spiritual death (the separation of the soul from God). Revelation 20:14 calls hell the second death, that is eternal death. What sinners dead to God’s ways need is not education, medicine, morality, or religion; they need new life in Jesus Christ.

V 3 “the one you love” - writer wanted to make a point that Jesus loved Lazarus.
V4 Jesus glorified
V 6 “stayed 2 more days” - made the miracle even harder
V 11 “has fallen asleep” - clearly Jesus meant that Lazarus had died
V 17 Jesus was going to heal Lazarus after he had been dead 4 days!

The Resurrection and the Life

17 When Jesus arrived, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem (about two miles away). 19 Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. 20 As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. But Mary remained seated in the house.

21 Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Yet even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

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

24 Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.”

Jesus Shares the Sorrow of Death

28 Having said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”

29 As soon as she heard this, she got up quickly and went to Him. 30 Jesus had not yet come into the village but was still in the place where Martha had met Him. 31 The Jews who were with her in the house consoling her saw that Mary got up quickly and went out. So they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to cry there.

32 When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and told Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!”

33 When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was angry in His spirit and deeply moved. 34 “Where have you put him?” He asked.

“Lord,” they told Him, “come and see.”

35 Jesus wept.

36 So the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Couldn’t He who opened the blind man’s eyes also have kept this man from dying?”

II. He Was Decayed (11:39)

There are three resurrections recorded in the Gospels, apart from that of our Lord Himself. Christ raised a twelve-year-old girl who had died (Luke 8:49–56), a young man who had been dead several hours (Luke 7:11–17), and an older man who had been in the tomb four days (John 11). They present a picture of three different kinds of sinners:

(1) The little girl. Children are sinners, but open corruption has not yet set in.

(2) The young man. Young people are sinners whose outward corruption begins to show.

(3) The older man. Adults are sinners whose definite outward corruption can be seen.

The point is that all three were dead. One person cannot be “more dead” than another. The only difference lay in the degree of decay. Is this not true of sinners today? The immoral church member is not “decayed” like the person on skid row, but he is still dead.

The Seventh Sign: Raising Lazarus from the Dead

38 Then Jesus, angry in Himself again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 “Remove the stone,” Jesus said.

Martha, the dead man’s sister, told Him, “Lord, he’s already decaying. It’s been four days.”

40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You heard Me. 42 I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me.” 43 After He said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go.”

II. He Was Decayed (11:39)

There are three resurrections recorded in the Gospels, apart from that of our Lord Himself. Christ raised a twelve-year-old girl who had died (Luke 8:49–56), a young man who had been dead several hours (Luke 7:11–17), and an older man who had been in the tomb four days (John 11). They present a picture of three different kinds of sinners:

(1) The little girl. Children are sinners, but open corruption has not yet set in.

(2) The young man. Young people are sinners whose outward corruption begins to show.

(3) The older man. Adults are sinners whose definite outward corruption can be seen.

The point is that all three were dead. One person cannot be “more dead” than another. The only difference lay in the degree of decay. Is this not true of sinners today? The immoral church member is not “decayed” like the person on skid row, but he is still dead.

V 43 Jesus healed Lazarus not by magic, or incantations....but merely by agreement with God’s power

III. He Was Raised and Given Life (11:41–44)

The sisters’ Jewish friends could only sympathize and weep; it took Christ to give the man life. How did Christ give him life? By the power of His word. This is the way He raised all three dead people mentioned above (see John 5:24 and Eph. 2:1–10). Why did Christ raise Lazarus? Because He loved him (v. 5 and v. 36) and because it brought glory to God (v. 4). This is why He has saved us. We deserve to die and go to hell, but because of His great love, He rescued us. (Read again Eph. 1:3–14 and 2:1–10.)

Keep in mind that salvation is not a set of rules; it is life (John 3:14–21, 36; 5:24; 10:10; 1 John 5:10–13). This life is a Person—Jesus Christ. When dead sinners hear the voice of the Son of God (the Word) and believe, they are given eternal life (John 5:25). To reject that Word is to be dead forever.

IV. He Was Loosed (11:44)

Lazarus was bound hand and foot and so could not free himself. The believer is not to be bound by the graveclothes of the old life, but should walk in the freedom of the new life. Read carefully Col. 3:1–17 to learn how the Christian is to “put off” the graveclothes and “put on” the “grace clothes” of the new life. It is a poor testimony for a Christian to carry with him the things of the old life.

V 45 “many” - surprisingly, not all who witnessed the miracle would believe. What would it take?
V 48 WOW!

The Plot to Kill Jesus

45 Therefore, many of the Jews who came to Mary and saw what He did believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do since this man does many signs? 48 If we let Him continue in this way, everyone will believe in Him! Then the Romans will come and remove both our place and our nation.”

49 One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all! 50 You’re not considering that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation perish.” 51 He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to unite the scattered children of God. 53 So from that day on they plotted to kill Him. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews but departed from there to the countryside near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim. And He stayed there with the disciples.

55 The Jewish Passover was near, and many went up to Jerusalem from the country to purify themselves before the Passover. 56 They were looking for Jesus and asking one another as they stood in the temple complex: “What do you think? He won’t come to the festival, will He?” 57 The chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it so they could arrest Him.

V. He Witnessed to Others (11:45)

In John 11:45 and 12:9–11 and 17, we see that Lazarus caused quite a stir in the area! People saw him and believed in Christ! In fact, he was a walking miracle, just as every Christian ought to be (Rom. 6:4). The great crowd that gathered on Palm Sunday came not only because of Jesus, but also because of Lazarus. In 12:11 we are told that Lazarus was causing people to trust Christ, but this kind of witness is the privilege and duty of every Christian.

V 52 “the scattered children of God” - the Gentiles
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