The story of Lazarus is one of my favorites in all of scripture. Maybe it has to do with all the great gospel songs about Lazarus but in any event it is the perfect picture of both the humanity and deity of Jesus. He weeps because His friend has died and His other friends are weeping over the loss of their brother. But He also knew ahead of time that Lazarus was going to die and waited to allow it to happen so He could raise him from the dead!
1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
Can that be said about you, the one that Jesus loves?
4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
Does that seem strange to anyone else? John just said Jesus loved this family, one of it’s members is deathly ill, Jesus has demonstrated time and time again that He has the power to heal all manner of sickness and disease but he decides to stay put to allow His friend to die? We might not understand it but God has a plan and purpose even in the death of His followers.
7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
I find it interesting and encouraging that Jesus’ disciples just didn’t get it sometimes.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
Thomas, always the optimist.
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
Martha was right, if Jesus had been there He would have healed Lazarus, that’s why Jesus waited until after Lazarus had died to arrive so He could demonstrate to all that He has power over death.
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
Jesus the hope of all that believe, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Do you know Him?
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.
29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.
31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.
32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
Jesus wept, the shortest verse in the entire Bible. But why did Jesus weep? He knew Lazarus was in Paradise. (2 Corinthians 5:8, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Romans 8:38-39 says that there is nothing: death, angels, principalities, height, depth, etc. that can separate us from God’s love. Luke 23:43 today you will be with Me in Paradise)
He also knew that He was getting ready to call him back….maybe that’s why He cried… He was having to call Him back to this sinful world only to die again.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Do you think if Jesus had not called specifically for Lazarus to come forth that every grave there would have been emptied?
This part gets me all excited, you see there is coming a day when the Father will say: Son, go get your children! At that time Jesus is going to step out on a cloud and in a loud voice cry out “Come Forth!” but this time instead of just Lazarus, He’s calling for all His children to come home! Somebody give the Lord Praise!
45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
Really? You just saw the man who’s name means “the Lord is salvation”, who claims to be the Son of God(see Matthew 27:43) call someone back from the dead and you went your way, wondering what do we do with this man because He is healing the sick, raising the dead, glorifying God and claiming to be the fulfillment of Bible prophecy? Uh, here’s a thought – believe, repent, and be saved!
49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.(KJV)
Oh, OK, so you’re not going to believe, repent, and be saved – you decided to go with killing the Son of God……nice plan, sure that’ll work out well. There is none so blind as he who will not see.
Will you be among those that one day hear the voice of the Lord calling from Heaven, “Come forth!”?