1: "Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha." - This is a family that Jesus had come to know very well - in fact, they could be considered His best friends.
4: "When He heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." - In the midst of struggle, sickness, and tragedy we are to look for opportunity to bring glory to God.
14-15: "So then He told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." - The entire story of Lazarus deals with the issue of belief.
21-22: "Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” - Both Martha and Mary express their faith in Jesus.
25-26: "Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” - Consider the amount of faith required to believe this statement prior to the cross. Jesus is breaking down the walls of spiritual death by creating a new and glorious belief system.
27: "Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” - Pain and despair over the loss of her brother did not cause Martha to waver in her faith.
32-33: "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 33“Where have you laid him?” He asked.” - By being "deeply moved" Jesus shows that He fully understands and experiences our feelings of loss and hopelessness.
35: "Jesus wept." - Did He weep because others wept? Was He feeling what we feel? Or was He weeping over all the lost souls whose lives end in the darkness of death and will never see the light of God's glory?
40: "Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” - If only we choose to believe…
41-42: "So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” - This was not a magic show designed to wow the crowd and bring glory to the trickster. Jesus points directly to God, the source and power that makes all things possible.
43-44a: "When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face." - A dead man walks and God is glorified. Death holds no power over the love of God.
Points to Contemplate:
Do you believe?
Do you believe that your life will not end in death? In the midst of your pain, sorrows, worries, anxieties, or suffering, are you living your life so that God will be glorified? Does your faith waver when things get tough or when the darkness of hopelessness seems to have settled in and taken up residence in your life? Do you believe that Christ will raise you from your encounters of death? Do you see that it is through your faith that the promise of resurrection is fulfilled?
What are the "if onlys" in your life? Do you question God's actions with these types of thoughts: "God, if only you would solve this one problem…" "If only I didn't have to face this illness…" "If only I had a few more dollars…" "If only we had a few more people…" "If only I had a job…" "If only you would have allowed her to live…" In your "if only" situations can you find the pathway to God's glory? Its there "if only" you choose to look for it. What amazing things lie in store, "if only" you'd believe?
Why did Jesus weep? If He knows that Lazarus will be raised from the dead, why the tears? For whom is He crying? Does He weep for you? Is He weeping for all those who do not believe and who are lost to the fires of eternal hell? Are His tears a sign of weakness or do they reveal that He loves us all with fervor and passion? Do His tears bring you comfort? Sadness? Joy? Do they create a passion in your heart for the lost souls you encounter in your life? Promises of the Gospel:
The story of Lazarus brings the dead bones of Ezekiel to life through Christ. If only we believe, all things are possible. If only we believe, the darkness of death will be replaced by the light of eternal life. If only we believe, our hopelessness will be turned into joy. If only we believe, our tears of sorrow will become tears of hope. If only we believe…