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Topic: Blessed (11/29/04)
TITLE: The Raising of Lazarus John 11:1-44 (KJV)
By Annette Agnello
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The sisters had seen and heard of many miracles he had done so when Lazarus became deathly ill they were sure Jesus could help. Doctors probably weren’t holding out much hope for their brother so they had all their hopes pinned on Jesus.
Jesus knew the seriousness of their call. In fact he knew Lazarus was dying and stayed where he was two days until Lazarus was gone before starting to Bethany. He knew Lazarus was dead in fact he finally explained it to the disciples what he really meant by saying Lazarus had “fallen to sleep”
It was dangerous for Jesus to be that close to Jerusalem, because of the attitude of the priests at that time and Thomas, our fatalist, said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (Jn 11:16 KJV.) The whole raising of Lazarus was a plan to display who, and what, Jesus was. Things needed to be brought to a head for Jesus to meet his death, the gateway to his resurrection. It was the whole reason he had come to earth. Preaching, teaching, even healing the masses wouldn’t change the world it would take his bloody, grizzly death to do the job. Lazarus was a step on the way to that.
Martha met Jesus on the road as he neared the house. She was chiding him for not getting there in time to save her brother. She had faith in him to heal, but it stretched no further. Once you were dead that was it. Nothing more could be done now, she was accusing Jesus of failing. He had failed her, them, by not rushing to heal Lazarus. After all, he was known to love Lazarus and he had failed him. (John 11:21-22 KJV) Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. (22) But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Verse 22 sounds like a faith statement, but it really wasn’t. It was lip service to a concept she couldn’t get a handle on. As soon as Jesus told her she’d see her brother again her mind took her far into the future to the “resurrection on the last day.” The very Resurrection and the Life was standing in front of her and she couldn’t see what that really meant. She like Peter at Caesarea Philippi declared him, “thou art the Christ, the Son of God,” (verse 27).
Mary was invited out to see Jesus, and wasted no time getting there. Mary was a worshiper, and even in her grief knew the best place to be was at Jesus’ feet. Verse 31 says, “she rose up hastily.” She was hurrying to greet Him. She was crying over her brother’s death that troubled Jesus. He knew her enough to know treas were a rare thing for her.
Mary had been followed by the mourners. In that day mourning was more or less a profession. They came wailing with her it made Jesus indignant. He asked where the body was and they saw that as an indication of Jesus’ love for Lazarus. They had no idea what Jesus was about to do. He did something highly unexpected he asked them to roll away the stone. Even his own sister said he would stink by that time. Jesus insisted, and the stone was moved, a simple public prayer ending with a shout, “Lazarus, come forth” and everyone understood that Jesus’ words were true, Jesus was indeed, the resurrection and the life. They unwrapped the grave-clothes of a truly of a blessed man, through Jesus’ prayer alive again.