Signs point us in the right direction. In John’s Gospel there are 7 signs that point us towards Jesus (John 20 v 31;) the last, and arguably the greatest of them all being the one we shall now consider – the raising of Lazarus. Here we consider how Jesus dealt with the “cast” of the story and how he continues to deal with us:
1 – The Disciples (v 1 – 16 – Key Word = TRUST.)
When Jesus received the news – “Lord the one you love is sick” he responded by sending back an encouraging message, before remaining where he was for the next two days prior to returning to Bethany. The disciples found the delay difficult to comprehend, but Jesus knew that the resurrection of Lazarus would deepen their faith as well as bring glory to God, and so he was asking them to trust his timing.
None of us enjoy delays, especially in the spiritual realm, but we need to remember that God operates on a completely different time scale to us (2 Peter 3 v 8 & Isaiah 55 v 8.) But having said that, delays are not denials, and so he calls us to learn to trust his timing.
Challenge – Will you trust God’s perfect timing for the events of your life?
2 – Martha & Mary (v17 – 37–Key Word = COMPASSION.)
When Jesus eventually arrives he is met by Martha, whom he encourages with a promise of resurrection. Then Mary arrives on the scene and falls at Jesus’ feet, an all too familiar position (Luke 10 v 39 & John 12 v 3.) When Jesus sees her tears he is moved with compassion and the shortest verse in the Bible informs us that – “Jesus wept,” something that he only ever did on one other occasion (Luke 19 v 41.)
None of us enjoy times of sadness and pain, but Jesus – “A man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53 v 3) comes to us and shares our hurts and our tears (Hebrews 4 v 15 – 16.)
Challenge – Will you acknowledge the tears of Jesus and receive his compassion?
3 – The Crowd (v 38 – 46 – Key Word(s) = NEW LIFE.)
What happened to Lazarus is a picture of the journey that people make to faith in Jesus Christ. Here are three aspects of that journey:-
A – Death.
Lazarus was physically dead; while the person outside of Christ is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2 v 1.) Their hearts are cold towards God, and spiritual truth means nothing to them (Ephesians 4 v 18.)
B – Decay.
The body of Lazarus, having been in the tomb 4 days, would have begun to decay and decompose; while the person outside of Christ often casts off moral restraint (Ephesians 2 v 2-3) allowing sin to spread like tooth decay or weeds in an unattended garden.
C – Deliverance.
In response to the words of Jesus – “Lazarus, come out” he walked out of the tomb to experience new life; just like when the person outside of Christ hears and believes the Word of God (Romans 10 v 17) and is given new spiritual life in Christ (John 10 v 10.)
Challenge – Will you allow Jesus to deliver you from the tomb of spiritual death and decay, as you believe his word and receive his gift of eternal life?
Theme: “Tomb raider”
Reading: John 11 v 1 – 44 (read in sections)
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led By: Chris Hughes