Presentation on theme: "Jesus said, "…for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8: 24). How do we know Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God?"— Presentation transcript:
Jesus said, "…for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8: 24). How do we know Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God? (Matt. 16: 13, 14-17.) Beloved, one way to establish Jesus' Sonship (his deity) is by the miracles Jesus performed. One common word translated miracle (dunamis) is the source for our English word dynamite. Hence, a miracle is dynamic, we would say in English (Acts 2: 22). New Testament miracles were call "signs" (semeion) because they verified and confirmed (Acts 2: 43, Heb. 2: 4) and "wonders" (teras) because they made the observers marvel (Acts 2: 43, 7, 8).
Jesus' raising of Lazarus from the dead is a spiritually moving and faith building event that truly reveals the nature of real miracles and displays the power of the Son of God (John 11). Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha, who were personal friends of Jesus (John 11: 1, 2). Jesus had a very special relationship with these people (vs. 5). Lazarus and his sisters lived in Bethany, which was about two miles from Jerusalem (vs. 18). The miraculous raising of Lazarus, as was the case with Jesus' miracles in general, was acknowledged as real even by his enemies (John 11: 47).
The purpose of Lazarus' sickness: We often do not understand the purpose of many of the events of life. In fact, some incidents may be without purpose. However, Lazarus' death had a purpose. His sickness was "not unto death" (vs. John 11: 4). Lazarus' sickness did result in unquestionable death, but death was not to be the permanent end result. The sickness and death of Lazarus had a higher purpose, "for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby" (Ibid.). This miracle would also strengthen the faith of Jesus' disciples and many of the observers (vs. 15; 45).
The reason Jesus delayed coming to Bethany: Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother was sick, but Jesus delayed going to Bethany (vs. 3, 6). They believed Jesus would come and heal their brother (vs. 21, 32). Jesus did not delay out of indifference or because he was too busy (vs. 5). How many times we believe a matter should be thus and so, but just as Mary and Martha we do not understand the intent of God! Sometimes it may appear that God does not care for his people, but could it be that since he knows the future that he does not grant the immediate request? (See I John 3: 22; I Pet. 3: 12.)
Some observations regarding death: Jesus referred to Lazarus' death as a sleep (vs. 11- 13). The death of saints is often considered to be sleep (Matt. 27: 52; Acts 7: 60). Such an allusion is not because death is annihilation or unconscious- ness, but because sleep is incompatible with suffering, weariness, or pain (see Luke 16: 19-31).
Luke 16: 19-31 Great fixed gulf Abraham’s bosom Tartarus
Some considerations relative to his resurrection: Jesus came to the tomb and commanded that the rock be removed (vs. 38, 39). Lazarus had been in the grave four days already (vs. 17, 39). Decay had already begun (vs. 39). Lazarus was wrapped in grave clothes (vs. 44). Jesus had already raised Jairus' daughter while her body was still in her father's house (Mark 5: 35-43). He had raised the widow's son while the body was being carried to the place of burial (Luke 7: 11-17). However, there is not a recorded case of Jesus raising one whose body was already in the state of decay (vs. 39).
All attention was focused on Jesus when he "cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth" (vs. 43). Jesus did not doubt his abilities to raise his friend and he was not afraid to have this miracle performed out in the open (vs. 42). We are told, "And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin…" (vs. 44). Lazarus' death was so certain and the miracle so definitive that Jesus' enemies were put in a quandary. "Then gathered the chief priests and Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles," we are told (vs. 47).
The raising of Lazarus displays a real miracle. Let those today who perform "lying wonders" go to the graveyard and resurrect one known to be dead, whose body is already in a state of decay! (See 2 Thes. 2: 9). Let us also appreciate the fact that this miracle was not performed for the sake of Lazarus nor his sisters, but for the glory of God and to produce faith in the witnesses (cp. John 20: 30, 31). The word of God today is designed to produce faith (Rom. 10: 17).
What the resurrection of Lazarus means to Christians: This recorded miracle serves as more proof as to Jesus' deity. Moreover, a bodily resurrection is not too hard for Jesus. About thirty years subsequent to the raising of Lazarus, Paul said to Agrippa, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" (Acts 26: 8). Jesus said to Martha in the context of Lazarus' resurrection, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (vs. 25).
Conclusion: Let us realize that while the account of the raising of Lazarus is indeed moving, Christ can and shall raise all the dead at the last day. Consider this statement: "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5: 28, 29). The one who raised Lazarus also died, but was raised to die no more and became the "firstfruits of them that slept" (I Cor. 15: 20, cp. Rom. 1: 4).