Summary: Jesus' greatest miracle was at the grave of Lazarus; the miracle pointed to the imminent resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
“At the Grave of Lazarus” John 11:25-44
As we end the old year and begin with the new, the resurrection of Lazarus is an appropriate passage to consider. In our last study we concluded at John 11:25-27 (NKJV): 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."
I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
We saw several things here: First of all, Jesus makes another emphatic declaration of His deity: I AM THE RESURRECTION and THE LIFE. There is no life apart from Him. Time holds no restrictions on the Lord Jesus because He is the Ancient of Days, the Creator God who created mankind and did so IN TIME. He is Lord of Life and Lord over “time” and beyond: Time is not a barrier to the God of all eternity.
Secondly, Martha affirms her personal faith in the Lord Jesus. Jesus comes to His chosen ones personally and reveals Himself as Savior and Lord. Jesus moves Martha into making a profession of her faith in Jesus’ Life and Work for her BEFORE He even finishes His Work here on earth.
We continue in verse 28: And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, "The Teacher has come and is calling for you." 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, "She is going to the tomb to weep there." 32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." 33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!" 37 And some of them said, "Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?" 38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.
WEEPING OVER SIN’S DEADLY EFFECTS
This is probably one of the most touching scenes in Jesus’ ministry and if you are trying to memorize verses in the Bible, verse 35 is the easiest: “Jesus wept.” So often we explain His weeping in terms of his human nature, but the text does not really tell us that. Jesus does not weep like human mourners with no hope: He weeps for the mourners who are wailing uncontrollably as if there is no hope after death. If the majority of people gathered truly believed who He claimed to be, they would not be mourning but rejoicing in the presence of the One who had just made the declaration that HE IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE and if you would BELIEVE IN HIM YOU WOULD NOT TASTE OF DEATH.
Jesus weeps over the deadly effects of sin: If man had not sinned, he would never have to face this horrible, fatal event and everything that it entails and includes: Grief, separation, hurt, heartful pain, and for those who are steeped in their willful unbelief….eternal condemnation by God which is a never ending life of “GRACELESSNESS”.
As Jesus “groaned” in His spirit”, or “was deeply moved in His spirit” He was actually filled with anger and emotional indignation over the disposition of the mourners: they basically acted as pagans who had no hope of the resurrection from the dead. It was not that Jesus did NOT feel sympathy toward Mary and Martha in their loss; He DID because Jesus was altogether acquainted with grief as “THE MAN OF SORROWS” described in Isaiah 53:3. He loved Mary and Martha and He loved Lazarus, but in Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life, death does not have the final word. Death is not victorious but CHRIST IS VICTORIOUS!
Jesus’ weeping has the connotation of silently bursting into tears. Have you ever had that where the hurt inside just builds in your inner being and you swallow and swallow again but it will not settle down…and finally your tears ducts just begin flowing…you don’t need to say anything. His tears were not on account of mourning because Jesus KNEW why He was there and what He would do. The tears of Jesus are definitely contrasted from those of the mourners.