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The death and resurrection of Lazarus-- John 11
The death and resurrection of Lazarus
John 11:1-46

For the last couple of weeks we have been journeying through the Gospel of John together.
We have learned together that the big theme and call of John is this "Believe in Jesus. Put your trust in Him as Savior and Lord. Turn to him for the forgiveness of your sins and eternal life."

Surrounding the call to believe in Jesus are some amazing claims of Christ regarding His divine identity and 7 incredible miracles that he performed (He performed many more but the Gospel of John groups things in sevens)

This morning we are going to examine the 7th sign and wonder that Jesus performs in John-- being that of the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

READ JOHN 11:1-46

LESSONS, PRINCIPLES, APPLICATIONS OF THE TEXT

1. Jesus' raising of Lazarus from the dead prepares us for his greatest miracle of all: His resurrection from the dead

Two key confessions of the Christian faith are this

a. Jesus is God.
b. Jesus rose from the dead

Romans 10:9 says; "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Jesus' resurrection from the dead is key to the Christian faith- for if he did not rise then following him is a waste of time and death is the end. However, abundant evidence exists for his resurrection and for the truth of the Word of God, so we can believe with confidence.

2. The death of Lazarus lead to one of the greatest declarations of Jesus as it regards his Divine identity v.25-26

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

The heart of this great claim is this: Jesus telling us that he has power and authority over life and death. Nothing is beyond the scope of his authority and Lordship. Death does not bring an end to his promises or a relationship with Him-- for we are more than just a body-- we and eternal soul and to those who believe in him he gives eternal life.

Put your faith and trust in Jesus!

3. Jesus' raising of Lazarus from the dead reminds us that physical death is not the end of us

David believed in the resurrection to come saying in Psalm 16:9-11 'Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Job believed in the resurrection to come, saying in Job 19:25-27; "I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes-I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

The Bible clearly teaches us that we are more than just a body. We have a soul, a spirit. When we die our soul/spirit either goes to heaven or hell and we await the Great Day, the day of the Lord. On this day all who ever have lived will be raised to Life and will appear before the Judgment seat of Christ and the throne of God-- and the result is this: All whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life will (Revelation 20) will be welcomed into Heaven and become citizens of the New Heaven and New Earth, the rest will be cast into what the Bible calls The Lake of Fire.

Jesus' raising of Lazarus affirms the truth of what the Scriptures and Christ teach.

2 Corinthians 5:8 says; "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord."

4. Jesus' raising of Lazarus from the dead ought to lower our anxiety as it regards death and dying- for He is the Resurrection and the Life

We often find the prospect of death frightening and yet we shouldn't be afraid

Psalm 23:4 says; "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me: Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me"

Hebrews 2:14-15 says; "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death- that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death."

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says; "Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words."

5. JESUS LETTING LAZARUS DIE DEMONSTRATES THAT GOD'S WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS- THEY ARE HIGHER

Isaiah 55:8-9 says; ""For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Note this:

-Jesus let Lazarus die
-Jesus knew that it would confuse and cause temp pain to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus
-Jesus did it for a reason (which we shall explore in a moment)

6. Sometimes we struggle a lot with GOD'S WAYS'- the way God deals with us and runs the world.

Disappointed with God? When it comes to God working- and us trying to piece it all together- we need to take a long view-- for the Scriptures really mean it when it says "He works all things together for the good of those who love him" Romans 8:28

We don't always see the big picture. The death and resurrection of Lazarus illustrates that God's ways are not our ways- they are higher.

Mary and Martha seemed to be a bit disappointed when they said; "Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died."

While they only had to wait 4 days to see the amazing thing that Christ did and how the death of Lazarus worked out for good, sometimes we have to wait a lot longer.


7. Sometimes the way of God for us involves sorrow and suffering- this doesn't mean that He doesn't love us

Jesus truly loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus-- and while he let Lazarus die for a great reason and purpose, he was not unmoved by the sorrow and pain that they experienced. v.35,38

God is a God of compassion. God has a tender heart. God is not distant or unfeeling. God is not a robot.

Sometimes when hardship comes we doubt God's love for us. Such is a mistake.

The greatest act of God's love for us was to send Jesus to die for us on the cross. God continues to show His love for us by indwelling us, protecting us, providing for us, giving us His wisdom, answering our prayers that line up with His will, etc.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God Romans 8:38-39
When trouble and heartache comes, we need to hold on to our faith- just like Mary and Martha did John 11:21-22

8. Jesus let Lazarus die for a reason: To reveal His Divine glory that people might put their faith in Him as Savior and Lord v.4,15

This is a very important point: It's not about us-- This is our God's world, we are the work of His hands--- It's all about Him, His glory, His praise, His worship.

In letting Lazarus die, Jesus' wanted to further reveal His divinity, lead people to faith in Him, and prove to people that he has power and authority of death.

The result: Many believed! Many put their faith in Him. See v.14, 42, 45

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!

9. The miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead shows us that nothing is too hard for God

Note: All Jesus has to do is to speak the words and what he wants is done v.43. Such is the power of God who spoke the universe into existence, who spoke and calmed the sea, who spoke and cast out evil spirits, who speaks and raises Lazarus to life.

Nothing is too hard for God

Death, evil spirits, a virgin birth, oppressive governments, addiction, illness, sickness, marital problems, financial troubles, a wayward child, a backsliding Christian who appears to be a million miles away from being a Christian, whatever it may be--- nothing is too hard for God

So cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you 1 Peter 5:7

CONCLUSION

The miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead has one chief end-- to lead you--- if you haven't already committed your life to Christ-- to Jesus in faith and repentance. This is the call of Christ-- turn to him and be saved.

For us who know him, His call is to stay faithful no matter what happens.