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. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 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? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 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. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 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. 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. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
We can certainly see the majesty and power of our Lord in this most amazing miracle. There are other places in the gospel record where it shines through but not quite as bright as we see here in this miraculous resurrection of Lazarus. We have taken several weeks to look at this chapter and we have noticed many important and helpful truths.
We have looked at:
The Priority of Prayer - as the immediate response of Mary and Martha was to send for Jesus in their hour of need
The Glory of God- Jesus reminded us in vs 4 - “this sickness is not unto death, but for the Glory of God” - oh how we need to remember that the events in our life (good or bad) are for his Glory!
The Resurrection and the Life - We pointed out that although we are headed for an eternal home in glory and a resurrection body, we need to pause to remember that Jesus is right here and right now. We have but one opportunity to spend our life for him - once it is passed, the opportunity will never again come. It is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity to serve God because we get only one life!
When Jesus saved you he did something for you that if we are not careful we can forget. We can get our eyes so focused on problems, people and petty things that we lose sight of the significance of our salvation. The record of Lazarus being raised from the dead was an amazing display of the power of God. A power, that with all of our human advancement we cannot duplicate. No physician on earth has the power to defeat death. With all of our advancements we may be quite able to delay it in many respects but no matter the medicine or procedure, death over this frail, sin cursed body, is inevitable.
As we look once again at the powerful Resurrection of Lazarus I want us to notice 3 important truths
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. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 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? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 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. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 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. 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.
The condition Lazarus was in, paralells the condition we were in before Jesus saved us - or possibly where you are at this morning
“to the grave”
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“by this time he stinketh” v 39
In Bible times they did not embalm a body like we do today - so his condition at this point would have been quite gross
Illustration: Megan and her trip to Haiti - One of the comments she made to me was that it stunk so bad. There were places that the stench was so difficult to endure that she was at the point of vomiting. But the sad reality is that to the people who live there it does not bother them like it does us. They are so familiar with the stench that they are not bothered by it.
Before Jesus found you - the stench of your sin did not bother you…you were literally decaying flesh and you were unaware!
“if thou hadst been here...” v 32
It was almost as if they had given up on Lazarus - they had accepted the fate - He was dead and nothing could be done about it!
Jesus could have helped at some point but now the situation is too far gone
Application: We need to be careful in our evaluation of people and circumstances - you may have lost family and friends who you think there is no hope for - you may think about yourself in these terms - I have sinned to much - I am to far gone - My situation is impossible - I cannot see a way out -
Can I remind you that we were all doomed before we met the risen Savior!
The Condition of Lazarus - now let’s look at.....
The Gospel is for the whole world - “whosoever will” - but God deals with individuals
Many people put off dealing with their condition because they are afraid to look honestly at themselves
Illustration: I remember when God was dealing with me about my lost condition - it felt like I was the only person he was focused on - like he was pointing out my sin and the penalty for it. The I personally called on him to save me - It was me!
Song - It’s Me O Lord
It's me it's me O Lord Standing in the need of prayer It's me it's me O Lord Standing in the need of prayer
Not my brother not my sister But it's me O Lord standing in the need of prayer Not my brother not my sister But it's me O Lord standing in the need of prayer
Not the preacher not the deacon But it's me O Lord standing in the need of prayer Not the preacher not the deacon But it's me O Lord standing in the need of prayer
Not my father not my mother But it is me O Lord standing in the need of prayer Not my father not my mother But it is me O Lord standing in the need of prayer
His call to us is just as precise
Illustration: I was talking with a woman just the other day and I asked her if she knew the Lord and her response was quite interesting - “I am very religious…I have been to all kinds of churches” I said well that’s nice but I am not asking about how religious you are or how many different churches you have been to .... “I attended Grand Canyon State University which is a Christian University....I have taken OT Survey and NT Survey....” On and on she went.
Nicodemus might have said the same thing - he was a Pharisee and he was clueless about his need to be born again!
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
So powerful was the call of Christ that when heeded it brings a person out of the grave!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The Condition of Lazarus, The Call of Lazarus … now I want us to notice
When Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus everything changed! Death reigned and decay had set in but still everything changed!
“and he that was dead came forth” v 44
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
This was not just a future quickening - it was an immediate change in position
Lazarus could embrace his family and friends and he could fellowship with Christ like never before
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
“bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound with a napkin .....loose him and let him go” v 44
After a man is saved he is still in his graveclothes, but he does not have to remain that way
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
“and his face was bound...” v 44
The napkin covered his face so that light could not penetrate
Illustration: I was watching 60 minutes the other evening and it had a story about two doctors that are doing Cataract surgery in Kathmandu Nepal. The population there has very limited access to medical care and due to a number of factors cataracts are very prevalent. Not only does the disease affect the sight of the individual (eventually causing complete blindness), but it causes the life expectancy of the person to drop dramatically as well. What is a simple thing to have corrected here in America, has devastating effects in this less developed nation.
These doctors have perfected the correction surgery to such a degree that they are able to literally line people up in an assembly line and cut out the cataract and insert the new lens in about 4 minutes a person. A day or so later the persons sight is completely restored. The news cameras filmed rooms full of people as they were being followed up on after surgery. The protective eye patches were removed and the look on peoples faces was dramatic. There were old ladies 90 years old that had been blind for years, there were young children who could not even remember ever seeing.
Once we receive sight from the Lord we are never the same again!
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
“...that sat at the table with him”
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
Now that we have been redeemed we can sit at the Lords table and fellowship with the Master
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Are you feasting at his table? Are you living in his Word?
I. The Condition of Lazarus - He was a dead man
II. The Call of Lazarus - He heard the voice of the Savior and obeyed it
III. The Change in Lazarus- He was now seated at the Masters table
Where are you at this morning?
Are you like Lazarus was “dead and decaying”?
Are you willing to turn to Jesus and heed his call?
Have you forgotten where he has brought you from?
Are you feasting at his table?
Is Jesus your source of sustenance?