Summary: The is the seventh sign recorded in the book of John, the raising of Lazarus. Here Jesus demonstrates that He is the ressurection and the life.
Resurrection and the Life
Today I am going to complete the study on the seven signs found in the book of John prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Over the last six Bible studies I have covered the first six signs covered in the book of John. We discussed how John could have included hundreds of other miracles that He witnessed Jesus perform. However he just includes seven that reveal who Jesus is.
In the first sign, the turning of the water into wine, Jesus revealed how He is able to take useless ritual, and turn it into an everlasting covenant. In the second sign, the healing of the officials son, Jesus demonstrates how He is the word of God. In the third sign, the healing of the man at the pool, we discovered that Jesus is the one who is able to forgive sins. In the forth sign, the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus reveals that He is the bread of life. In the fifth sign, the walking upon water Jesus revealed that the old system was ending and a new one was beginning. In the sixth sign, the healing of the man born blind, Jesus reveals how he is the light of the world.
The seventh sign is the most awesome miracle of them all. In this miracle Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
It is the most awesome of miracles, because this time Jesus faces mankind’s greatest opponent, death. Death is the ultimate equaliser. It doesn’t matter who we are, it doesn’t matter what we have done, it doesn’t matter how rich we are, we may be able to slightly prolong our lives on this earth, but death will always catch up with us. It is something that we don’t like to talk about until it actually arrives to somebody close to us. As one tombstone wrote, ’I was expecting this, but not yet.’
Three friends were discussing this very subject and one of them asked, ’If you were to get run over by a truck this evening, what would you like people to say about you? The first replied, ’I would like people to say that I was a faithful Christian, a good husband and a good father.’ The second replied, ’I would like people to say that I was caring, compassionate and made a real difference in this world.’ The third person replied, ’I would like people to say look, he is still moving!!!’
I remember when I first became a Christian I was once passing the graveyard by St Lawrence Church. Full of faith, I walked into the centre of the graveyard and started praying to see if somebody would rise from the dead. Boy, I am glad that God didn’t answer my prayers that night? I would have run a mile.
But death is something that is painful. Even though when our loved ones die in Christ, we have the reassurance that we will one day see them again, that parting causes extreme sorrow. This is the same situation that Jesus’ friends find themselves in when Jesus performs this miracle.
I want to look at this miracle in the same way that I have looked at most of the rest. Firstly there is a test show the level of peoples faith before the miracle. Then Jesus performs the sign as a revelation of who He is. The finally John also records the teaching of Jesus in relation to this sign. He shows how the combination of these three things affects the people.
1:Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
2:This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.
3:So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
4:When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it."
5:Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6:Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
7:Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."
8:"But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"
9:Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light.
10:It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."
11:After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up."