There are lots of names in the Bible that are popular today, but not Lazarus. You know a Noah and an Elizabeth, but do you know a Lazarus? Probably not.
Lazarus is a name that is associated with life and death. Jesus brought Lazarus back to life at the peak of his ministry. Like all the other signs that Jesus did, this miracle was designed to reveal something about our Savior.
Jesus brought Lazarus back to life in front of three different groups of people. These groups all had there one question for Jesus. These questions help us understand this pivotal event.
Why would you risk your life? (John 11: 1-16)
Jesus had developed a close relationship with Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. When Lazarus got sick, the sisters sent word for Jesus to come. This prominent family lived in the village of Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem.
When Jesus announced his plans to go to Bethany, his disciples questioned him (v. 8). The Jewish establishment had tried to kill Jesus twice before he escaped to the other side of the Jordan River. The disciples knew that it would be very dangerous for Jesus (and them, v. 16) to go near Jerusalem.
The disciples were also confused about Lazarus’ condition. The message they received only said that Lazarus was sick. Jesus said that Lazarus was sleeping, which didn’t warrant a life-threatening mission to Jerusalem.
Why did you wait so long? (John 11:17-27)
When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Martha came out to meet Jesus and question him (v. 21). She knew that Jesus had an intimate relationship with the Heavenly Father, but why didn’t he come two days earlier to heal Lazarus.
Jesus revealed that he was more than a healer, he was and still is “the resurrection and the life.” Jesus claimed to have power over life and death and he would soon prove it.
Why didn’t he do something? (John 11: 28-46)
Mary also came out to speak to Jesus followed by a large group of mourners. Mary’s family must have been well known because a large number of people came from Jerusalem to comfort her and her sister after Lazaurus’ death.
Mary took Jesus to the tomb where they laid Lazarus and she wept along with the crowd of comforters. Jesus also wept, overcome with emotion and his disappointment with the brokenness of sin.
As the mourners watched Jesus they questioned him If was a miracle worker, why didn’t he perform a miracle for this man and this family who he clearly loved? If he could help, why didn’t he?
Jesus commanded that the stone be removed from the entrance to the tomb. Martha objected because at that point Lazarus was definitely dead and the smell would be overpowering. Jesus prayed out loud for the benefit of all three groups that were present – his disciples, Martha & Mary, and their comforters – and called Lazarus out of the tomb. As he stumbled out into the light, they unwrapped him from his grave clothes.
Jesus answered these three questions by defeating death so that…
So that you would love Him.
Jesus risked his life to save the life of a friend he loved very much. Will you love him in return? John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
So that you would glorify Him.
Jesus waited to visit Lazarus so he could perform a greater miracle. Will you welcome and worship Jesus as God in the flesh? John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
So that you would believe in Him.
Jesus’ entire earthly ministry was about one thing – getting people who need to be saved to believe that he was their Savior. Will you accept him or reject him? John 20:31 says, “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.”