Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was sick. And He did not go immediately to him but waited. In Jesus mind it was clear that Lazarus sickness was to demonstrate the glory of God and that His Son Jesus may be glorified.
While Jesus’ disciples are perplexed to understand what goes on, Jesus is very clear all through the process. He knows that Lazarus is sick, he will die and Jesus will raise him from the dead. To heal a man who is sick glorifies God, but to raise a man who is dead for 4 days (when Jews thought that the spirit hovers around for 3 days) was Jesus way of disempowering their false belief and pointing to Him as the Great I AM, who has the power of life and resurrection.
The events surrounding Lazarus’ sickness and resurrection provide three ways to glorify God…
I. The first way is identification with people (11:33-36)
When Jesus looked at people He was moved in His spirit and wept. John 11:35 is the shortest passage on the Bible and offers great comfort for all of God’s people of all the time.
Jesus disempowered the myth that big guys don’t cry. If Jesus did cry, we can also. Jesus did not cry about the death of Lazarus (He knew it all the way and was going to raise him shortly), but He was moved of people’s grief and what death had done to them.
We need to learn from Jesus to be empathetic to people’s hurts and joys (Romans 12:15).
II. The second way is crediting God for what happens (11:4, 41-43).
When the word about Lazarus’ sickness came to Jesus, He said that his sickness was that the glory of God may be reveled (11:4).
Jesus called on the sisters to trust in Him and they would see the glory of God revealed (11:40).
Finally, Jesus prayed to God in front of the people. His prayer is clearly focused on people’s understanding of what God will do. He wants people to see God in what He does.
Jesus taught us to let our light shine, so that people may see our deeds and glorify God (Matt 5:16). This is a tricky issue. Our deeds should point people to God, but if we are not careful people may see the deeds and they become it. If our deeds don’t point people to God, then they will most likely point people to us. We need to clear the fog and point people to God. This is what the Bible calls it evangelism.
III. The third way is by being faithful even when it costs (11:45-57).
The animosity of Jewish leaders toward Jesus had been increasing all the way. The day Jesus stepped on planet earth; He knew He had come to die for mankind’s sin. He knew that was His purpose in life.
When Jesus raised Lazarus He also knew what would happen. The resurrection of Lazarus was the final thing that sealed the decree to murder Jesus. The Jewish leaders finally decided that Jesus needs to die. However, Jesus knew the price He had to pay for being God’s Child and He was willing to pay.
I find it with interest that not only they decided to murder Jesus, but also Lazarus (12:9-11).
When we live as children of God, Satan is not happy. Therefore, he will make everything on His power to make it hard for us in order to discourage us and cause us to quit. As children of God, we give glory to Him when we are willing to count the cost and pay the price for being His followers (Luke 9:57-62).