Lazarus, Come Forth!
Free online resources based on Jesus raising Lazarus back to life. This miracle can be found in the Gospel of John. See below for links to sermons, stories and entertaining sites for this important story.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?” — John 11:25-26 <HCSB>
Jesus Raises Lazarus Miracle – Summary
Lazarus lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. When sickness took a turn for the worse, the sisters sent word to Jesus seeking help. The messenger found Jesus about a day’s journey away and told him, “Lazarus, whom you love is sick.”
After hearing this, Jesus responded,
“This sickness will not end in death, but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” — John 11:4 <HCSB>
There is no direct evidence that this message was carried back to his sisters. However, it would seem by Jesus’ response to Martha in John 11:40 that it may have been delivered.
Jesus knew that Lazarus had died before the messenger even arrived. He and the disciples stayed where they were for two more days before traveling back to Bethany. When they arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Its important to remember this fact as you consider the sequence of events.
After two days Jesus tells his disciples that its time to go back to Judea. They protested because it was in Jerusalem where the religious folks had just tried to stone him. Jesus reassures them that when you walk in the daylight, you will not stumble. Jesus is the Light of the World. Walk confidently in his Light, and like Jesus, the evil one cannot touch you. (Psalm 91:1-16, Proverbs 3:1-26, John 1:1-5, 8:12, 14:27-31, 1 John 5:18, 2 Timothy 4:17-18)
Jesus tells the disciples that their friend Lazarus is asleep, and he is going to wake him. They misunderstand, and suggest that he will get better if he is sleeping, perhaps concerned with what might happen if they traveled back to Judea. Jesus then tells them plainly that Lazarus has died. And he tells them that he is going to raise him from the dead, and they will be witnesses to this miracle. If this would not stir their faith, few things would.
Outside of Bethany, Jesus meets Martha who at first expresses disappointment at his late arrival. But then she makes a bold statement of faith, “I know that whatever you ask from God, He will grant it to You.”
Jesus tells her that Lazarus will rise. Martha thinks Jesus is referring to the future. So Jesus makes a profound announcement,
Jesus said to her, I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live; And whoever continues to live and believes in (has faith in, cleaves to, and relies on) Me shall never [actually] die at all. Do you believe this? — John 11:25-26 <AMP>
Jesus was preaching the rapture to Martha and it was a little too much to get her arms around at the moment. She believed Jesus was the Messiah, and boldly confessed this to him.
Martha went to her sister and told her Jesus was nearby. Mary ran to where Jesus was and fell down at his feet. Between tears she said that Lazarus would not have died had Jesus been there. This was true, and not an indictment of Jesus.
Jesus was greatly moved and wept. The other mourners noted his tears for his friend, and the grieving sisters. Jesus had emotions, but he was not controlled by them. He had a plan and a mission from His Father. One of the key purposes of Jesus coming to the Earth as a man was to destroy the works of the devil. By raising Lazarus in such a public way, it would be solid evidence that it is NOT the will of God for anyone to die early.
The sisters took him to the tomb. When Jesus commanded them to roll away the stone, Martha warned him that corruption had already started in the body, since he had been there for four days. There was also a belief among the people that the human spirit would hang around the body for three days, but by the fourth, death was permanent. This was a meaningless superstition to the Author of Life. (Acts 3:14-16)
Jesus gently reminded Martha of the message he had sent, that the end result would be for the glory of God. Looking up to Heaven, he thanked God for always listening. He spoke this so that everyone around him could hear and know that he was doing God’s will. And then he spoke the words that would change the lives of everyone watching.
Lazarus, come forth!
Still wrapped in grave clothes, Lazarus came out of the tomb, healed and alive. Jesus told them to set him free.
Lazarus and his sisters were well known in the region, and many mourners witnessed this miracle. They knew Lazarus was dead and had been for four days. It was impossible to deny that this was a tremendous display of God’s power and love. With Jerusalem beginning to fill with pilgrims coming for the Passover, the news was spread throughout the area. What would the people do with such information? Would they believe that Jesus was the Messiah?
Some of the witnesses informed the Pharisees and priests. Instead of intellectual, or even spiritual curiosity, they hatched a plan to kill Jesus. Some even suggested killing Lazarus to end any speculation about Jesus. (John 12:9-11) The High Priest prophesied ignorantly, “It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
It was better for one man to die for all. But the High Priest was not thinking about the spiritual lives, or Salvation of the people. He was more concerned about his personal status and fortune than the will of God. Such can be the case with religion, which often puts man’s desires above God’s plan.
The question is often asked, why did Jesus wait until Lazarus was in the tomb for four days. Jesus did everything in perfect obedience to God and the Word, and God is Love. There were many times Jesus healed folks remotely, so you must assume there was a greater message or purpose in this miracle. I would suggest looking at the Creation story. The story of man is summed up in the 7 days of Creation. It was on the 4th day that the Sun was created, and the Moon and the stars. The sun “rules” the daytime and there is no darkness. And the Moon reflects the Sun, providing light, and “rules” the darkness. Jesus, the light of the world, appeared on the 4th “day” of human history. (2 Peter 3:8)
For 4,000 years man had been in slavery to fear, specifically the fear of death, the root of all fear. Jesus was about to very publicly conquer death, in type with Lazarus, and completely with his own death and resurrection. (Hebrews 2:14-15) More importantly, man had been spiritually dead for that same 4,000 years. Through faith in Jesus, Believers are made alive, and set free from the religious bondage that held them captive like the grave clothes that bound Lazarus. Believers may worship God in Spirit and Truth, the way He desires. The fear of condemnation is gone, as are all barriers that prevent fellowship with your Heavenly Father. Jesus came to give you Life in abundance. He spiritually recreates and dwells in you. And when you KNOW this Truth, it means Freedom from the god of this world. It means Life! (Genesis 1:14-19, John 4:23-24, 8:31-44, 10:10, 14:15-23, Romans 5:12-21, 8:1-16, 2 Corinthians 3:13-18, 5:14-21, Galatians 4:1-9, Colossians 2:1-23)
When the the pressure is increasing, darkness is nigh, or the enemy has turned up the heat seven times more than usual, remember your Heavenly Father and His Word. Do not be moved by what you see, or what you feel. Speak His Word boldly and BELIEVE.
Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God? — John 11:40 <AMP>
Read the story in five popular translations – AMP, KJV, HCSB, NIV, The Message:
Jesus Raises Lazarus Miracle – John 11:1-46
Jesus Raises Lazarus – Children’s lesson plan
Jesus Raises Lazarus – Activity and coloring pages
Jesus Raises Lazarus – Children’s story, lesson, and craft ideas
A Savior Who Weeps – Object lesson with links to activity pages
Who Wrote The Fourth Gospel? – A very interesting article from Berean Bible Church on Lazarus and the Fourth Gospel. This may answer some important questions you may have had regarding the Gospel of John, and certain events in its narrative such as the raising of Lazarus.
Day 4 – Lazarus Come Forth! – My blog commentary
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