Summary: Now, it is possible for every person to overcome and defeat death.
1. In this day of modern medicine, it is not unusual for a person to quit breathing and be resuscitated. “Resuscitate” means “to revive from apparent death.”
2. But when someone has been dead (person or animal) for four days, this doesn’t happen. At least, I have never heard of it! Except for once, a little over 2,000 years ago, and it is recorded right here in our text.
3. This event from the life of Christ happened in the town of Bethany (map or picture). Read verses 1-3. Lazarus ends up dying before Jesus Christ gets there and is dead for four days.
4. This set the stage for Jesus to perform His greatest miracle of His ministry
vs. 38-44). Wow! You talk about drama. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there?
• Christ had already healed blind eyes, opened deaf ears, healed crippled people who had never walked, and He had even raised up two other people from the dead (Luke 7:2-15). But they were only dead for a few hours.
• This was a miracle that even the critics couldn’t deny. They were getting worried that Christ might take over their religious positions (vs. 47-48, 53 – kind of silly).
5. But many that day did the sane and rational thing. They believed on Jesus Christ. They said, “Yep, no doubt, He is the Son of God, the Messiah, and the Savior of this world. We believe it!” vs. 45
6. However, within a week, His critics would put Him to death on the cross. And then three days later, He would walk out of that tomb, showing Himself alive by many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3). Now, it is possible for every person to overcome and defeat death.
Death is a reality for every person.
1. Did you know death doesn’t care who you know or what your financial portfolio looks like? Did you know death doesn’t care how old you are or what your house looks like?
2. According to our text, Lazarus’s family was obviously wealthy. In those days, only the wealthy had tombs with stones in front. Not only this, Lazarus was a personal friend of Jesus and the twelve disciples. It didn’t matter. He still got sick and died. So, what do we learn from this story?
4. Why is this? Because of something that entered the world shortly after God created it, and that thing is called sin. Adam and Eve were warned, but disobeyed God anyway. We have all felt the repercussions of what occurred that day.
5. We all have an inherent tendency to do the things we know are wrong, even when we don’t want to, because we know they will harm us. And many times we still do them because their influence is so strong. Sin ultimately leads to physical and spiritual death for every person. Romans 6:23
Death can be followed by life.
1. Does that sound strange? You say, “You got that backwards. If you’re dead, you’re dead.” Many people believe that when you die, you’re dead, and that’s it.
2. But Jesus, over and over again, all during His ministry emphasized that a person could have life after death (John 5:24). Look in our text at verse 25.
3. The resurrection of Lazarus from death was concrete evidence, Exhibit A that it is indeed possible to obtain life after death. For everyone, not just followers of Christ, physical death is not the end.
Death can be defeated through Jesus.
1. As we said, Jesus had already raised up two dead people, but they had only been dead a few hours. According to Jewish theology, a person wasn’t really dead until they had been in the grave at least 3 days – long enough for the body to begin decaying.
2. Lazarus qualified! He had been dead for 4 days! Jesus was very careful to make sure that Lazarus was really, really dead!
3. Nobody had ever been raised from the dead after four days (the O.T or N.T). No person in history had ever come back from the dead after four days in the grave until this day!
4. Jesus Christ preceded this miracle by uttering one of the most powerful and incredible statements that has ever been made. Lets’ read verses 23-26.
• It wasn’t, “I can raise Him up to life.” It was, “I am the resurrection, and the life…” John 11:25
• He was saying, “I embody life. They may take my physical life, but death cannot keep it. I am life.”
5. That may have been a big statement, but He would prove it within the next week or so.