1 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 perfume 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 twelve 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 But 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 too so that we may die with him.” 17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem (less than 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 to him, “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. 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.” 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 Mary 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. They followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to cry there. 32 As soon as 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 deeply moved in his spirit and troubled. 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?” 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved 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, there is already a stench because he has been dead 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 that 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, “Unwrap him and let him go.” 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.
It’s not really about evidence, it’s about sin.
It’s not really about evidence, it’s about sin.
No matter how much evidence a person is given, if they don’t want to repent, they won’t.
Believing in God is not like believing in atoms. Does it matter if atoms exist? Absolutely! They hold everything together. Is your life affected by whether they exist or not? Absolutely! If atoms cease to exist, so do you. But whether you believe in their existence or not makes no real difference in your life. Nothing changes, and you’ll never find yourself in a situation in which your belief or disbelief in them will actually impact your life, but belief in God is not like that.
Does it matter if God exists? Absolutely! The Scripture says Jesus holds everything together.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and by him all things hold together.
Is your life affected by whether God exists or not? Absolutely! If God ceases to exist, so do you. But whether you believe in God’s existence or not will make a huge difference, not just in this life, but for all of eternity in the life to come.
What does it cost you to believe in atoms? Nothing. You can live your life however you want, it makes no difference.
What does it cost you to believe in God? Everything. You can’t live your life however you want. You have to submit to God as your Lord. He has commanded us to repent of sin to be forgiven, and after He rose from the dead He said we are to go and preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins to all the nations.
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47 and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
People love their sin, and don’t want to give it up. People don’t want to repent of sin, and they don’t want to be told that they have to. John chapter 3 tells us this.
19 This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.
People reject God because it will cost them. They love their sin and God demands that they give it up.
30 “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has set a day when he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
God commands all people everywhere to repent, He does not want anyone, anywhere to perish.
9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.
Even though God doesn’t want anyone to perish, and He does want all to come to repentance, He still gives us free will to chose what we will do. Jesus is very clear that if you do not repent, you will perish.
1 At that time, some people came and reported to him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And he responded to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all the other Galileans because they suffered these things? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well. 4 Or those eighteen that the tower in Siloam fell on and killed—do you think they were more sinful than all the other people who live in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well.”
We all have sinned
23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
And the punishment for sin is death.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But God offers us the free gift of salvation, complete forgiveness of our sins, something that we did nothing to achieve or earn. Jesus did it all. He lived a perfect sinless life which enabled Him to be a perfect acceptable sacrifice. By submitting Himself to death, which He did not deserve, because He did not sin, He can legitimately take the place of someone who does deserve death. We can not die in someone else’s place because we have earned the death penalty ourselves for our own sin. But Jesus can. And He didn’t just die for one person, He died for the entire world.
2 He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.
And this is why some of the Jews did not believe in him after he rose Lazarus from the dead but instead went and told the Pharisees what He had done...
47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and were saying, “What are we going to do since this man is doing many signs? 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away 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 Jesus therefore 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 Now 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: “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 that they could arrest him.
Jesus told a parable about a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus:
19 “There was a rich man who would dress in purple and fine linen, feasting lavishly every day. 20 But a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, was lying at his gate. 21 He longed to be filled with what fell from the rich man’s table, but instead the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 One day the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torment in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off, with Lazarus at his side. 24 ‘Father Abraham!’ he called out, ‘Have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this flame!’ 25 “ ‘Son,’ Abraham said, ‘remember that during your life you received your good things, just as Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, while you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that those who want to pass over from here to you cannot; neither can those from there cross over to us.’ 27 “ ‘Father,’ he said, ‘then I beg you to send him to my father’s house—28 because I have five brothers—to warn them, so they won’t also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said. ‘But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “But he told him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’ ”
And they were not persuaded when Lazarus rose from the dead. They knew he rose from the dead, but this is what they decided to do in response.
9 Then a large crowd of the Jews learned he was there. They came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, the one he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests had decided to kill Lazarus also, 11 because he was the reason many of the Jews were deserting them and believing in Jesus.
They didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah when Lazarus rose from the dead, they decided to kill them both.
It’s not about how much evidence someone is given. I can give you all the evidence anyone could reasonably ask for, historical evidence, archaeological evidence, scientific evidence, but none of that matters if someone doesn’t “want” to believe. If they don’t want to, they won’t.
Jesus called Martha to believe.
26 Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
And then it said:
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.
Jesus calls everyone to believe in Him. Some do, and some don’t. And this passage teaches us that it’s not about how much or how little evidence someone has, it’s really about whether or not people are willing to count the cost of following Jesus and decided if they are willing to pay that price. To follow Jesus we must repent of sin. We must decided to turn from sin, once and for all, and most people are not willing to do that, so they reject Him.
Jesus said their are four types of soil