DEVOTIONS WITH PASTOR BOB
The Gospel of John Chapter 11
“Lazarus Come Forth”
The Book of John in Song - Chapter 11 - "Lazarus Come Forth"
JOHN 11:1, 17, 21-27, 43-44 (NIRV)
1 A man named Lazarus was very sick.
He was from Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived.
17 When Jesus arrived, he found out that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
21-27 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “I wish you had been here!
Then my brother would not have died.
But I know that even now God will give you anything you ask for.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again.
This will happen when people are raised from the dead on the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
Anyone who believes in me will live, even if they die.
And whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.
I believe that you are the one who is supposed to come into the world.”
43 -44 Then Jesus called in a loud voice.
He said, “Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out.
His hands and feet were wrapped with strips of linen.
A cloth was around his face.
Jesus said to them, “take off the clothes he was buried in and let him go.”
IT WAS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH!
Mary & Martha’s brother Lazarus was very ill. They had done everything they knew to help him. So, they sent for Jesus. They knew that if Jesus laid His hand upon their brother, that he would be made well again.
JESUS THE MIRACLE WORKER
They had this confidence because they had seen Jesus heal others in miraculous ways.
Yes, they knew that Jesus is a wonderful healer!
FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS
Jesus also had a very close relationship with Lazarus and their family.
Sometimes, Jesus would come to their home to share a meal with them and to teach them.
So, when Lazarus grew ill, they called upon Jesus, certain that help was on the way.
But their certainty soon turned to despair.
Lazarus died, and they laid him in his tomb–and there was still no sign of Jesus.
The sisters had been so sure that Jesus would come.
Confusion mixed with disappointment overwhelmed them.
Why had Jesus ignored their need?
GOD ANSWERS PRAYER
Wasn’t He the one who said, “Ask and you shall receive?”
Well, they had asked?
Does God really hear and answer our prayer?
Yes, God answers prayer, but the answer may not always be what we expect, or when we expect it!
JESUS SHOWS UP
Jesus did show up eventually.
By then, Lazarus had been entombed for 4 days.
They thought; there would be no bringing Lazarus back now.
WHY HAD JESUS WAITED SO LONG TO COME?
In a way, the sisters were being selfish in expecting Jesus to come.
After all, it was a dangerous thing for Jesus to return to Judea.
It had only been a short time before Lazarus became ill, that there were those who had tried to stone Jesus to death, because He had told them that He and the Father were one.
But, despite the danger, Jesus did come, and many of His followers came with Him.
It was brave of them all to make the journey, especially since Jesus told them that Lazarus was already dead.
BUT JESUS HAD SAID THAT LAZARUS’ ILLNESS WAS TO BRING GOD GLORY.
Jesus always did what He knew would give glory to God and taught His followers to do the same.
Jesus had made it clear to them that He was indeed, coming to Judea despite the threats.
One of the disciples, Thomas, said to the others,
“Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Those who truly loved the Lord were willing to die in order to follow Him.
IF YOU HAD BEEN HERE JESUS!
By the time Jesus arrived, the sisters were deep in mourning.
Friends and members of the community in Jerusalem had come to the house to comfort Martha and Mary and to share their grief.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet Him.
She went to Him and said what was in both their hearts,
“Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.”
Those words came out of her grief, but they also were a statement of faith.
Martha continued to have faith, even though Jesus had disappointed her by not saving Lazarus from death the way she thought he would.
Martha said to Jesus, “but even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of Him.”
SOMETIMES, IT’S HARD TO REMAIN FAITHFUL WHEN YOU’RE HURT AND ANGRY.
But Martha held on to her belief in the Lord, despite her sorrow and broken heart.
Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.”
She responds, “well, we all knew that.
Most Jews believed that they would be resurrected on the last day, and Martha told Him she knew that.
BUT THEN JESUS TOLD HER SOMETHING SHE DIDN’T YET KNOW.
“I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me, even though they die,
will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
And then, He asked Martha, “Do you believe this?”
Martha answered by telling Jesus what she did know about Him.
She said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
JESUS WAS THE “ONE”
I think for Martha; it was enough to know that Jesus was the One God had promised to send.
Even if some of what Jesus said was a mystery, she knew that she could trust what He said, because she knew who He was, and who had sent Him.
After that, Martha came back to the house and told Mary that Jesus had come and that He was looking for her.
MARY HURRIED OUT TO MEET JESUS
When Mary came to the place where Jesus was, she knelt at His feet, overcome by emotion; and, like her sister.
She said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Jesus looked at her and at those who had followed her; and when He saw how they were crying out in their distress;
He became very disturbed.
He was moved by their pain and asked where we had laid Lazarus’ body.
They told Him, “Lord, come and see.”
And then, Jesus began to weep.
Some of the crowd assumed that He was mourning Lazarus, and they said,
“See how he loved him!”
But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of a blind man have kept this man from dying?”
They mourners cry aloud for their loss.
It was the way they were taught.
Some said that the more a person was loved, the louder the mourning of the people.
Some people even hired people to come and moan and wail over the deceased to show that the person was loved.
BUT JESUS’ TEARS WERE DIFFERENT
He cried softly, almost to Himself.
I don’t think He was crying for Lazarus alone;
I think He was crying for all of us, for the terrible pain of death itself.
God’s children were not created for death.
But for life, that we might give glory to God.
The terrible power of death disturbed Him, and He wept.
AT THE TOMB OF LAZARUS
When they got to the tomb, Jesus asked that the stone that secured the tomb be pushed out of the way.
Martha was quick to protest.
“Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.”
Martha, Martha, always worried and distracted by many things (Luke 10:41).
The Lord is about to answer her prayers, and give glory to God, and she’s worried that things won’t have that clean, fresh scent.
Can you believe it?
Well, OK, maybe it’s not so hard to believe.
Actually, maybe we all are a little like Martha sometimes.
I mean, how many times have I asked God to do something and then tried to take back control because there might be something unpleasant.
WE DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE PROCESS
How often do we feel the panic that comes with realizing that the fulfillment of our prayers may mean having to face what just plain stinks?
BUT JESUS KNEW THAT SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO BELIEVE BEYOND THE FEAR
And He reminded Martha of His promise that her faith would be rewarded and that she would see the glory of God.
So, they moved the stone away.
Jesus prayed aloud for the benefit of those who had gathered.
He said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me.”
And He added that He knew the Father always heard Him.
But that He wanted those present to believe that the Father had sent Him.
And then, He shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”
And Lazarus walked out of the tomb, still covered by the cloth strips with which they’d bound him before placing him in the tomb.
Jesus then said, “Unbind him and let him go.”
It was a miracle! Jesus had brought life to Lazarus.
As others witnessed the new life in Lazarus, they came to believe in Jesus!
NOW, I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AT TODAY, BUT I’M WILLING TO BELIEVE THAT THERE’S SOMETHING IN THIS STORY FOR ALL OF US.
Remember, Jesus won’t always answer when or how we expect, but that doesn’t mean our requests are unheard.
Jesus will find a way to use even the most painful situations to bring glory to God.
Perhaps you’re struggling with the Word of God.
Remember that there are some lessons we may not fully understand.
We can still trust in Jesus, because we know who He is and we know who sent Him;
And sometimes if we just keep faith and continue to walk with Jesus, He will take us to a place where all becomes clear.
Jesus knows about our doubt, but wants us to keep faith so that we too, will see the glory of God.
Maybe you’re feeling soul-less and wrapped up in things that won’t let you go.
JESUS OFFERS US A NEW LIFE
He will call you by your name, and loose that which binds you.
And then, as others witness the change that Jesus makes in your life, they too will come to believe and will find new life in Christ.
That is how it has always been.
Those who answer Christ’s call to new life will find a teacher and a friend for whom they are willing to die for.
But, of course, it is Jesus who died for us that we might have eternal life.
I started out with, “It was a matter of life and death.”
But the truth is that, with Jesus, “It’s really a matter of life.
Dear Father, this story of how Jesus brought Lazarus back to like after 4 days in the tomb is amazing. There is so much that He reveal to us about prayer, about how God cares about hurting people. When Jesus began to shed tears as He saw the heart break that death brings, our hearts are encouraged because we know you care about us and what we go through. Thank you, God for your lovingkindness, in Jesus name we pray, amen!