Summary: Lazarus has died. What can this story tell us that can help strengthen our faith.
I. One of the questions that I typically ask of scripture is “Why?”
A. Why did God have this particular passage placed in His written word to us?
B. Particularly in the case of the gospels, the easy answer is that it is the next act that a particular writer remembers or wants to convey, but
C. If we believe that God superintended the writers to convey as God himself desired, then no story or part of a story is included through the mere chance of the writer.
D. Logic dictates that if we can answer the question of why a particular passage is included, then it becomes much easier to understand what we are to learn from it.
II. This morning we are going to explore John chapter 11, the story of Lazarus.
A. In one sense, John 11 closes the public ministry of Jesus.
B. John 12, verse 23 reads, “And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
1. To that point in John’s gospel Jesus had consistently said, “My hour has not yet come.”
2. But with the conclusion of the raising of Lazarus, the trip to the cross really begins.
III. How fitting that Jesus final miracle is the raising of a man, four days in the grave.
IV. How fitting as well that the conclusion of this story, in John 11, verses 45 and 46 read, “Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him, But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.” indicating many did not believe.
A. How in the world could people see all the miracles and signs that Jesus had performed and yet not believe He was God in the flesh?
B. If we can understand that, then perhaps we can understand how so many people today can hear the testimonies of Jesus’ power in our lives, and even see miracles that are credited to Christ today, and yet not believe.
C. Maybe as well, we can get a better understand of how even those of us that do believe in Christ can have times when our faith falters, and maybe even fails.
V. We will explore this a bit more in a couple of weeks, but I believe one of the major themes of all the gospel writers is that
A. Though multitudes were drawn to Christ
B. Though multitudes saw miraculous signs
C. Though multitudes heard Jesus teach,
D. Only many would place their faith in Him.
VI. Today, though there really are few people that have not heard of Jesus Christ, relatively few will place their faith in Him.
VII. There really is nothing new under the sun.
VIII. Now here is the basic story of John 11
A. Jesus has only recently given sight to the man born blind, and he and the disciples have retreated to another area.
B. Mary, Martha and Lazarus, a family that Jesus evidently stayed with from time to time, and a family that felt his great love, knew where He was, about a 1 day hard walk from their home.
C. Lazarus, the brother has gotten extremely sick, therefore Mary and Martha have sent for Jesus, in order that their brother would not die; much like our prayers in times of crisis.
D. Upon receiving news of the impending death, rather than immediately leaving to help, Jesus tarry’s for two days.
E. Lazarus must have died even before the message got to Jesus, for by the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus has been dead for four days.
F. After some conversation with the sisters, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, and many believe in Him, while many do not.
IX. What I would like to do this morning is look at a few important points concerning strengthening our faith in Christ, as illustrated in this passage.
Christ’s Delay Does Not Mean His Lack of Concern (vs. 5-6)
11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 The sisters therefore sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When therefore He heard that he was sick, He stayed then two days longer in the place where He was.
I. Have you ever been in a situation where you prayed, asking God to intervene in some situation; maybe even prayed and prayed, and yet it seemed God was not very attentive to your need?