Summary: If Jesus could raise Lazarus from the dead, why can’t I live better under that same power?
July 21, 2002
In Artesia, New Mexico, Mary Bratcher accidentally ran over her pet dog, Browny. The family tearfully buried the little mixed-breed dog in a field near their ranch home. The family’s youngest son refused to accept that Browny was gone; neither would Browny’s momma! The momma pooch dug Browny out of the ground and the following day the family returned from a trip to discover Browny, caked with mud and dried blood, on their porch. Browny was barely breathing, but they rushed him to the veterinarian. He recovered, although he lost an eye, and had a broken shoulder. He also now has a new name -- Lazarus!
Our text this morning is about another Lazarus, a friend of Jesus¡¦.
1A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 2This is the Mary who poured the expensive perfume on the Lord¡¦s feet and wiped them with her hair.„T Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, ¡§Lord, the one you love is very sick.¡¨
4But when Jesus heard about it he said, ¡§Lazarus¡¦s sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God. I, the Son of God, will receive glory from this.¡¨ 5Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6he stayed where he was for the next two days and did not go to them. 7Finally after two days, he said to his disciples, ¡§Let¡¦s go to Judea again.¡¨
8But his disciples objected. ¡§Teacher,¡¨ they said, ¡§only a few days ago the Jewish leaders in Judea were trying to kill you. Are you going there again?¡¨
9Jesus replied, ¡§There are twelve hours of daylight every day. As long as it is light, people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. 10Only at night is there danger of stumbling because there is no light.¡¨ 11Then he said, ¡§Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.¡¨
12The disciples said, ¡§Lord, if he is sleeping, that means he is getting better!¡¨ 13They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was having a good night¡¦s rest, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
14Then he told them plainly, ¡§Lazarus is dead. 15And for your sake, I am glad I wasn¡¦t there, because this will give you another opportunity to believe in me. Come, let¡¦s go see him.¡¨
16Thomas, nicknamed the Twin,„T said to his fellow disciples, ¡§Let¡¦s go, too¡Xand die with Jesus.¡¨
17When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18Bethany was only a few miles„T down the road from Jerusalem, 19and many of the people„T had come to pay their respects and console Martha and Mary on their loss. 20When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, ¡§Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.¡¨
23Jesus told her, ¡§Your brother will rise again.¡¨
24¡§Yes,¡¨ Martha said, ¡§when everyone else rises, on resurrection day.¡¨
25Jesus told her, ¡§I am the resurrection and the life.„T Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. 26They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?¡¨
27¡§Yes, Lord,¡¨ she told him. ¡§I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.¡¨ 28Then she left him and returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, ¡§The Teacher is here and wants to see you.¡¨ 29So Mary immediately went to him.
30Now Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31When the people who were at the house trying to console Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus¡¦s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell down at his feet and said, ¡§Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.¡¨
33When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, he was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled. 34¡§Where have you put him?¡¨ he asked them.
They told him, ¡§Lord, come and see.¡¨ 35Then Jesus wept. 36The people who were standing nearby said, ¡§See how much he loved him.¡¨ 37But some said, ¡§This man healed a blind man. Why couldn¡¦t he keep Lazarus from dying?¡¨
Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead
38And again Jesus was deeply troubled. Then they came to the grave. It was a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39¡§Roll the stone aside,¡¨ Jesus told them.