Summary: I want to talk to those of you that feel “buried alive”, you are conscious but bond, freed but still restrained. The enemy has placed you in the tomb and pronounced you “dead”!
This sermon could go into many different directions, I could preach on the resurrection of Lazarus as a type of the new birth or as a type of Christ’s resurrection. How He is never too late but always on time or evening the second coming.
Who here is going through some hard times? We live in a time where it seems that those born with silver spoons prosper while rest of us that were born with plastic spoons continues to struggle.
So many want a message about the sweet by and by; we know what is on the other side, the Bible tells me what is on the other side (streets of gold, mansions, marriage supper of the Lamb, no tears, new bodies, etc…) I know what’s on the other side and I know what it takes to get there but right now I am still dealing with what is on this side. I need a right now miracle I need strength now I need encouragement now, I need to be loosed and freed now.
One of man’s greatest fears is that of being buried while still alive, we see this scenario played out in film and watch in horror as the victim panics and claws and screams but are left alone six feet in the ground to slowly suffocate and die. In the church we have some that feel that way.
I want to talk to those of you that feel “buried alive”, you are conscious but bond, freed but still restrained. The enemy has placed you in the tomb and pronounced you “dead”! Some of you are in need of a “come forth” moment that moves you out of defeat and into victory; there is no need to wait til you make it to the other side to feel free, Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Lazarus’ story begins in John chp. 11 where we are introduced to him there is very little information on this man all we know is he is the brother to Martha & Mary. You know Mary and Martha; Martha is the one that was slaving in the kitchen for a dinner party while her sister was at the feet of Jesus and would then anoint His feet with oil and dry them with her hair.
So we know his sisters but outside of that we know little about him. We learn that he is sick. The Bible doesn’t tell us about his sickness, we just know that he is sick and his sisters are asking for Jesus to come visit him. The Bible does say that Jesus loved this family. When Jesus’ receives the request He says in vs.4 …This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
After He makes this statement Jesus does something that contradicts what He said the Bible says in vs. 6 that He abode two more days where He was. He waited, we don’t know why He waited; the Bible doesn’t tell us that He did anything aside from just waiting.
Waiting is always a difficult thing we know that “they that wait upon the Lord…”
Time is like money now it is valuable to us, so waiting is not always our first choice, but we sometimes have to wait.
After He waits two days He tells His disciples that it is time to leave for Judea. They protest reminding Him of how the people tried to stone him there, but He insists that He must go and wake Lazarus from his sleep, His disciples not understanding what He meant said “if he is asleep, he shall do well”, which prompted Jesus to say “He is dead”.
When they arrive Lazarus has been in the grave for 4 days. It is interesting to note that Rabbis believed that the soul hovered near the body for 3 days. After that there was no hope for life to return to the body. But with God all things are possible.
A typical Jewish funeral would only last a day; if possible the dead were buried the same day to keep with the law of cleanliness, since the dead were considered unclean. The mourning process would continue for a week. Usually a funeral procession would consist of family and friends as well as profession mourners that were hired woman that would make a lot noise to represent the anguish of the family.
During the mourning process you would see outward signs of grief such as wearing sackcloth, placing dust or ashes upon the head, fasting, beating the breast and wailing. The wailing and lamentations were an announcement that a death had taken place.
The dead would be washed and wrapped in a linen cloth; unusually the mouth would be bond along with the hands and feet. If the family could afford it the body would be covered in spices and in paste, and these would be bound to the body by “roller bandages”. The paste would harden and impregnated the bandages until a hard preservative mould or cocoon was formed about the body.