Summary: Part 1 of a 2 part sermon on some of the beautiful lessons we can learn from the events surrounding the resurrection of Lazurus.
BELIEVEST THOU THIS?
INTRO. As a preacher of the truth of Jesus Christ, it is a disgusting thing, to me, to hear someone ascribe the holy power of God to the depraved weakness of man. That is to say, many in their spiritual ignorance and heretical teachings, attempt to attribute the glory of infinite God to puny insignificant finite man. There are some things that only God can do.
Some religions demand regular public confessions of sin to a priest, as if that priest had the power of God to forgive sin.
Some teach that one can not be truly saved unless he has submitted to their baptism in their church, as if they had the power of God to grant eternal life.
Some claim to grant miracles to some while denying miracles to others, as if they alone were the determining factor of who can partake of God’s boundless grace.
Some propagate the heresy that some can be saved while others can not, no matter how much they desire eternal life. This is in spite of the fact that the Son of God Himself said, "he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
So the point remains, there are some things that only God can do. I believe that this is the whole point behind this marvelous miracle. Some make the grave mistake of putting faith in men to do what only God can do...and...some make the grave mistake of limiting God to the standards and abilities of men.
I. THE SUBJECT OF A GREAT MIRACLE.
A. By the time Jesus got to Bethany Lazarus had been dead for 4 days.
1. Martha said, "by this time he stinketh;"
2. Corruption had set in.
a. Possibly the sisters had noticed the traces of decay upon the body before they even buried him.
b. In that warm climate the body would have begun to decay very quickly. This is why there would have been a need for a quick burial. The idea is that by now the dead man was beyond help.
c. If Lazarus was newly dead perhaps something might be done for him but after 4 days there is surely nothing that can be done for him.
d. Like an engine that seizes up. If work is done on it in short order, it can be saved. But if it is left to itself corruption sets in and after a while the valve get displaced, the wheels get broken, the belts become severed and then the very metal itself is eaten away by rust.
e. It seems that it would have been easier to make a new man than to resurrect this one.
3. We can see the lost man symbolized by this picture.
a. They are void of any spiritual life and corruption has set in.
b. Their character is insufferable. Their language is despicable. Their spirit is loathsome.
c. They have been separated from the idea of righteousness for so long that it seems impossible for them to ever be made pure and holy.
d. But there are some things that only God can do. "Believest thou this?"
1. He can turn a blasphemer into a man of prayer. He makes sinners into saints. He can transform the proud and arrogant into a humble little child of the Kingdom of God.
2. Ezekiel could not make dry bones live but the breath of God brought them together, wrapped meat around them, breathed life into them and transformed them into a mighty army.
3. No matter how far gone a man may be, he is not beyond the boundaries of the mercy of God. Jesus can change the most vile into the most holy.
II. NOTICE THE HUMANITY OF THE SAVIOUR.
A. There are those who deny the deity of Jesus. Then there are those who will deny the humanity of Jesus. Both concepts are infinitely wrong. Jesus Christ was both all man and all God. Obviously, as we said, only God can raise the dead. But I do not know of any passage of Scripture where the manhood of Christ is more frequently manifested than in this one. Mary and Martha noticed it. That may be why they doubted.
1. When the Lord saw Mary’s tears, we read (vs. 33) that He groaned in spirit and was troubled. In this He shows the sorrows and sympathies of a man.
2. And what of vs.35? We may disagree over the reason but what matters is that weeping is a human characteristic. Who can not relate to a Saviour who weeps?
3. vs. 34. Here He seems to depart from His omniscience as, in His humanity, He seeks information.
4. In vs. 38 we see Him as He goes to the grave. He certainly did not need to go: He might have spoken a word where He was, and the dead would have risen.