Gospel Words: Lazarus Raised

John 11  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
John 11
The Lord Jesus manifested His glory by His “'signs “; for such they were, and not wonders only or powers. Here the signs which He did reached a climax in testifying to Him as Son of God, For as the Father raises the dead and quickens them, so the Son also quickens whom He will. This testimony He gave in raising the young daughter of Jairus (as recorded in the three synoptic Gospels), and in raising the widow's son of Nain whilst being carried out for burial. But now, quite close to Jerusalem, a still more glorious sign was seen in raising up Lazarus not only dead but buried. It is also in exact keeping with the special design of the fourth Gospel, and divinely seasonable too at that moment.
The Lord did not come to the sick man at the appeal of the sisters, however truly He loved them all, but abode two days where He was. “This sickness is not unto death (said He) but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby.” He waited as ever for divine direction. After this He goes, though the disciples warn of danger, and He intimates that Lazarus was dead, as they failed to catch the meaning of His words. He knew the end from the beginning.
Martha went and met Him, but Mary sat still in the house. Yet the faith of Martha rose no higher than that He was Messiah, and that God would give Him whatsoever He should ask. When Jesus said, Thy brother shall rise again, she only speaks of the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth on Me, though he have died, shall live; and every one that liveth and believeth on Me shall never die. Believest thou this? Martha's answer was quite vague and not to the purpose: “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, that cometh into the world.” And having said this, she went and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is here, and calleth thee. And she, when she heard it, rises quickly and comes to Him. Yet when she arrived and fell at His feet, she says like her sister, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
The power of death lay on both, on all their hearts; and Mary wept, and the Jews that came with her. Jesus was deeply pained in His spirit, and was troubled, and wept. It was not only sympathy in love, but profoundly feeling trouble at death's power over not man only but saints. At the grave He speaks and acts in divine power over death, in communion with the Father. Martha's unbelief only draws out the expression of it. He is the resurrection and the life; and with His eyes lifted on high, He says, I thank Thee that Thou hearest Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but for the sake of the crowd that standeth around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me. And having thus said, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And the dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith to them, Loose him and let him go.
With this Lord and Savior you, my reader, have to do now. You are called on by God to honor Him whom man rejected and crucified. You are enjoined to believe on Him. You need Him as much as Lazarus, nay even more; for Lazarus already believed on Him and was beloved by Him. Can you say that you believe on Him? Do you receive Him as the Lord and Savior sent by God that you may have in Him life eternal? To receive Him thus on God's testimony is to believe on His name. His coming again will prove the power and blessedness of life in Him; for then it is that the sleeping saints shall be raised, and the living saints shall not sleep but be changed. It is the full result of His being the resurrection and the life, of which the raising of Lazarus was the pledge on a small scale. It accords with Christ's own words to Martha, “he that believeth on me, though he should have died, shall live; and every one that liveth and believeth on me shall never die.”
Martha did not enter into this blessed truth, though she believed on Him. She thought she knew all of moment in believing Him to be the Christ, the Son of God, that was to come into the world. And there are many saints who lose much joy and power by like vagueness. But she did believe on Him. And this let me press on you who read these lines, and yet cannot say that you believe on Him. Oh, if He is, as He says, the resurrection and the life, why do you hesitate to rest on such a revelation of Himself? It goes far beyond raising up the dead and buried man to renewed life in this world. It suffices for heaven and for eternity. It was not said only for that occasion; it is written by the Holy Spirit for you, and for every other who reads or hears these wondrous words now.
Do not then aggravate your guilt and state of spiritual death by slighting either the grace of God that appeals to you in the words of the Lord Jesus, or the wrath of God revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men that hold fast the truth in unrighteousness. Such may differ greatly in outward seeming; neither class have life, because they believe not on Him. They are both alike in that they will not come unto Christ, that they may have life. But without Christ, as life and propitiation also, happiness is as impossible as holiness. Life is the first want of one dead in sins. Christ is the only giver of life; and He gives it to all that believe on Him.