Summary: We remember that Jesus rose from the dead, but do we remember that He raised others during His ministry on Earth, and this is our surety of eternal life.
John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.”
Luke 16:19-31 (read), and that is the problem, Jesus did die and was resurrected, and still the Jewish leaders did not believe.
We have a tendency to remember that there is only one resurrection from the dead, the most important one for us, the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. However, there are actually four resurrections recorded in the gospels.
But it is not just Jesus who was raised from the dead.
1. Mk 5:22-43 records the raising of Jairus’s daughter.
2. Luke 7:11-17 records the raising of the widow’s son at Nain.
In both these cases arguments could be raised as to whether they had truly died or were just in a comatose state and that Jesus ‘just got lucky’ with them supposedly coming back to life. In both cases, they had only ‘died’ just before Jesus came on the scene. I am sure that there would be many today, with our more advanced knowledge of medicine, who would have happily gone down this route to discredit the miracles.
Jesus restoring the dead to life is part of His reply to John the Baptist’s question "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Matt 11:3).
The major difference between the first two resurrections and Lazarus is the amount of time between the death and the raising. There is absolutely no way that Jesus could have ‘got lucky’ in raising Lazarus; he had been dead 4 days (39).
The message here is that the sin which results in the death of us all is not some temporary mis-fortune, no passing ailment, or sad accident; it is a permanent result for each one of us which cannot be avoided. Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead was not:
1. out of sympathy for Martha and Mary, though it is obvious that He had great feelings this way for them and their distressing situation;
2. out of sympathy for their friends; nor
3. because Lazarus was a dear friend
It was because Jesus wanted to express to all His disciples what He had said earlier (25) “I am the resurrection and the life.”
The words could be misinterpreted and misunderstood. They could even be missed altogether. Here was an action which could not be missed. Not just the bringing back to life of someone who had died. This was the bringing back to life of someone who had been dead for four days. So dead that he would have started to decay in the heat of Palestine. So dead that Martha had to warn Jesus about the about the awful smell should the tomb be opened.
But Jesus was there to demonstrate the full power of God the Father in Him and that the Father desires to give eternal life to all who have faith in His Son.
If Jesus alone had been raised from the dead, wayward theologians could have argued that He alone could be raised, because He alone is perfect. Here we have the proof that eternal life is for all who are saved by faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
Mark records a lovely incident where a woman who had suffered a flow of blood for twelve years (Mark 5:24-34). No human doctor could help her, she had spent all that she had on consulting them. She reached out and touched Jesus garment an was healed. She had faith in the healing power of Jesus, and Jesus says to her (v34), "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." But the Greek word used here actually means ‘saved’ rather than ‘healed’. She received physical healing so that she could “be freed from your suffering” and she received spiritual salvation “Go in peace”.