Summary: Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead even though he had been there 4 days. Let’s look at the significance of this story.
Mary & Martha sent a messenger to Jesus to let him know that Lazarus was very sick.
Jesus didn’t drop everything and run to where he was at. He stayed. My question, where was He?
o Jesus was in Bethabara – read John 10:40-42
o This passage tells us that it was the place where John had baptized. It also tells us that everything John had said about Jesus was true.
o John 1:29, Behold the Lamb of God, is spoken by John from Bethabara.
o Jesus remains in Bethabara, because while here He was fulfilling the prophecy of John. 10:42 says that many believed on Him there.
Jesus makes an interesting statement in verse 4 of chapter 11. He says that this sickness will not end in death while speaking about Lazarus. What happened to Lazarus? He died. So, was Jesus a liar?
o Jesus is teaching us here that the sickness that Lazarus had would not end in spiritual or eternal death. Lazarus was right with God and physical sickness or even physical death was not going to change that.
o However, the people in Bethabara who did not believe in Him, the sickness that they had – the sickness of sin – would indeed in ultimate, eternal death.
They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mark 2:17
“Whole” refers to a complete or wholeness of soul. It means one who isn’t lacking spiritual life. This particular word in the original language is only used here and in the parallel passage in Matthew 9:12-13.
Jesus is teaching that spiritual health is His primary target and concern.
THE CALLING FORTH OF LAZARUS:
1. When Jesus arrives, Lazarus has been dead for 4 days.
a. Jewish custom was that for the first 3 days after someone dies, their spirit would hover near the body with the possibility of returning to the one who had died.
b. They believe that on the fourth day, the person is dead for good.
c. Jesus specializes in what others feel are lost causes.
d. To reiterate the importance of what Jesus was doing in Bethabara: Had He left immediately and returned to where Lazarus was, he already would have been dead. 1 days journey both ways and He stayed there 2 more days. That is equal to 4 days which is how long Lazarus had been dead when Jesus arrived.
e. There are many people who have been down and out for so long, that they and other people around them see them as a lost cause and assume that there is no hope for them any longer.
f. TAKE HEART, JESUS IS ABOUT TO ARRIVE ON THE SCENE!
2. The first thing Jesus does at the tomb is weep.
a. His weeping wasn’t sadness necessarily but more so a hurt that His closest ones didn’t yet understand who He was.
b. He was also showing compassion for the hurting. He cares deeply for the things that affect us.
3. Jesus then commands that the stone be removed.
a. When Jesus arrives, He removes all obstacles and barriers that prevent life.
b. Many are hidden away inside a cave or tomb and need somebody to step up and command the barrier to be removed. The door must be opened to bring you out!
c. The complaint of those around was, “Lord, he stinks!”
i. The religious or non-spiritual know that when the stone is removed all the stench of sin and death will be released.
ii. Many would prefer the dead or dying to be locked away so that they don’t have to deal with all that goes with death.
iii. Far too many people are stuck in stagnation and death. The primary reason is that nobody is willing to remove the stone for fear of what they may encounter.
d. The ones who complained and were skeptical were the ones who were made to roll away the stone.
i. The ones who try to stop what God is doing are often the ones who pave the way for the miracle.
4. Jesus calls Lazarus forth and commands him to be loosed.
a. The key wasn’t that Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb. The key was that He commanded him to be loosed from his grave clothes.
b. The church has left far too many people standing outside of the tomb but still covered in their grave clothes.