The Resurrection and the Life
Book of John Chapter 11
We all need some place to unwind and it is very possible that Jesus used the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to do this. Remember the flesh side of Christ felt everything that we feel.
In our lesson today we will see Jesus express love for His friends. It is in this chapter where we find the shortest verse in all the Bible.
John 11:35 says Jesus wept.
Jesus did not cry out in excessive grief. This crying was not a sign of human weakness. It was Jesus sharing in the grief of this family He loved.
They were dear friends He had met and enjoyed their company.
The New Testament records three times that Jesus wept.
1) In this passage we are studying today.
2) Jesus wept as He entered Jerusalem for the last time.
Luk 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
3) Not many talk about it, but Jesus wept just before the cross.
Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
The most important thing we can learn from this lesson is that Jesus revealed Himself as “The Resurrection and Life”.
It is easy for us all to see that Jesus had compassion. Another word for compassion is pity.
The Lord expects each and every one of us to show compassion and have pity on all our brothers and sisters.
Mat_18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Bethany is about 2 miles from Jerusalem and by the time Jesus had walked to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead four days.
Jesus did not go directly to the home of Lazarus but stayed just outside the little city and sent word that He was there.
Let’s begin our lesson at verse 18:
*****Joh 11:18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
Joh 11:19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
Joh 11:20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
What we must understand is, that when we believe that have reached the point of endless sorrow, this is when the Lord can do His greatest work.
Isa 33:10 Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself.
We should understand that the Jews had a wrong belief that it was possible for someone to be raised from the dead if they had been no more than 3 days dead, but no one could be raised from the dead after 4 days or more because their body had begun to deteriorate.
Even today there are many who say this story is just a parable or some story and it never happened, but it did.
Jesus did many things that only God can do!
We should also understand that this family was ranked high in Jewish society because many of the Jewish hardliners had come to comfort this family, but they were the enemies of Jesus.
This did not stop Jesus from raising Lazarus from the dead and Jesus did not do this thing to impress these men.
We should also know Jesus did not raise Lazarus from the dead to make some big public statement.
This was another lesson for the 12 disciples and a lesson of faith for Mary and Martha.
There are many who believe in some sort of resurrection but if we do not put our faith in the only One, Jesus Christ, who is the “Resurrection and the Life” then we will only see a resurrection of the dead.
The key to eternal life is only in the Lord Jesus Christ!
We can believe that Jesus was unwilling to mingle in that crowd of mourners, many of which were paid to act like mourners which was the custom.
If you going to be around Jesus, then you better be real, Jesus did not like hypocrites nor did He like people who were paid to seem like your friend!
Martha went to meet Jesus while Mary stayed at the house.
*****Joh 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
Joh 11:22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
Martha had enough faith to believe that had Jesus been in Bethany when Lazarus was sick that He would have healed him.
Martha gave no thought to Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
Martha had enough faith to know Jesus was her Savior but just like many today she questioned why Lazarus had died.
It should be obvious that we do not completely understand the plan of God, but we must realize that the Lord never does bad things.
This is another place where God placed a certain person into the path of Jesus.
With Lazarus, Jesus would raise him from the dead but in doing so Lazarus would have to leave paradise or Abraham’s bosom.
Martha did not have the “faith” of Abraham:
Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Heb 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Heb 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Abraham knew that if he had killed Isaac his covenant would be broken with God, but he was certain that God would raise Isaac up from the dead to keep the covenant God had made with Him!
Many will teach that this is why Jesus wept and it could be true, but one thing is sure, the Lord has compassion for all His children!
The thing we must all do is, just place our lives in Jesus’s hands and serve in the complete will of the Lord!
Martha may have spoken harshly to Jesus for a moment, but she was convicted by her own words and said, “whatsoever thou will ask of God, God will give thee” and we had better believe this is true because God the Father told God the Son not to lose any of His children!
We also see with this statement that she placed Jesus at a level below God the Father and Jesus had already said many times that what the Father did then He did the same, “for they are the same in every way”.
We all have a tendency to do this from time to time.
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost all share the same power, in fact the same everything!
Not three persons but One God in three persons!
We can also see that just believing in what Jesus says, will cause our “faith” to grow!
*****Joh 11:23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
Joh 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
We will not understand why God does what He does until we get to Heaven and then we will understand.
We must trust that everything God does is the right thing to do, because the Lord does not make mistakes!
We must also understand that to a child at the death of their parents, some resurrection in the far future is not much consolation.
Only the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the love of other family members and friends can help them.
At the loss of every loved one we will experience a change in our life, but we must remain close to the Lord to have peace.
Martha did not really know Jesus as well as she thought, and we do the same thing. We make the Lord to be small when the Lord is great in all power but also in compassion.
Martha did not want her home to change while she was still living but none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.
Every Father wants to die before any of his children and it is the same for the mother just as it is the same for every oldest son or daughter.
We just do not want our family to ever leave us!
We must place our lives in the hand of the Lord and know that He will do right!
Joh 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Joh 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
We must know that true life comes only by the Lord Jesus Christ.
*****Joh 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Joh 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
What is the greatest truth of the Christian? We live a life that has triumphed over death!
Joh_10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
By the power of the Godhead, Jesus did this very thing.
What we should understand is that the atonement of Christ did not end with His death.
The atonement of Christ only came to a climax when He “resurrected” from that death.
There was so much power revealed to us at this moment of the Lords death and then His resurrection that there was enough “Grace” to be sufficient for the sins of this entire world, but it was effectual only for those who believe.
We were saved by the power of the Triune God and we are kept saved by the Triune God and we must not make the power of God too weak to sustain our life throughout eternity.
Rom 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
Almost every one of us make our God to be weak when we cannot know the strength of His power other than observing all His creation.
Rom_1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
It is by God’s own power that we can be at peace with Him.
Reconciliation truly means that God by His power, not ours, has removed that barrier of sin that has been against us, since the time of Adam.
The reconciliation becomes effective once we believe.
2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Jesus made all this much simpler when He said He was the “resurrection” and He is “life”.
Martha said she understood but in reality, she lacked faith, but in many ways, she puts us to shame.
After this Martha went to tell Mary that the Lord had arrived.
One of best examples of the compassion the Lord shows to us all is the fact the He will weep with us in the time of our trials and tribulations.
We have a loving, caring, compassionate God!
*****Joh 11:34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
Joh 11:35 Jesus wept.
We must remember, God was still God, but He was also human, and the human side showed the compassion that God had for this family.
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Joh 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
It is a fact that there can be tears of joy but in our life, we shed more tears because of sin but the tears of Jesus were out of sympathy for those around Him but also from a deep sense of misery sin had brought upon our nature.
Heb_4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
It would have been easy for the Holy Spirit to have left this passage out, but He wanted us all to know the love of God for each of us!
*****Joh 11:37 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?
Joh 11:38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
Joh 11:39 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.
We must understand that God gets no pleasure at all in the death of anyone!
Eze 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.
At the same time it is a precious sight for God to witness the death of any of His saints.
Psa_116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Jesus was groaning “in” His Spirit as He approached the grave of Lazarus.
It always comes up that if Jesus has this much love for us, then why did He allow this to happen?
We must understand that the nature of this world is corruption which we see every day, but also trials and tribulation, suffering and pain, death and hell.
Many times it is these things that allows an opportunity for God to do a great work.
God did not cause the death of Lazarus, and I’m sure that Lazarus did not want to be brought back to life, but because so many would witness this great miracle it was a great opportunity for the Lord.
Many believed but many fled to tell the High Priests and the Lord knew who these were.
Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
It is easy to see that Jesus lived the way He preached!
We must believe that God never does unnecessary things!
We must also believe that God never speaks unnecessary words.
When Jesus was upon this earth Jesus never did an unnecessary deed or miracle open to the eyes of those around Him.
God will never show us another sign that He is real until just before He returns other than what we see every day!
Once we are saved, God gives a place to reach out to others and He allows us the time to do as He says, but we must do the rest!
We should be very clear, God will never do something that we could have done ourselves!
We must never be a stumble stone, but we should remove the stumble stones in the path of others whenever we are able!
*****Joh 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
Joh 11:41 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.
Our “faith” has not grown until we know, that we know, that we know, we are saved.
We must never doubt our salvation!
We must also know that we are to be busy about the work of the Lord.
Our Hope must be built upon the promises of God knowing that He has never broken a promise that He has made.
We must not grow weary in well doing nor complain about the things God has given us to do.
Mary and Martha were still growing in their faith and we need to be growing in our faith every day.
We must be at rest and at peace with the Lord and “faith” that what we lack God will provide.
The Lord Jesus did everything His Father ask Him to do and we need to do everything Jesus ask of us knowing that His words are the words of His Father!
The Father has always listened to us just as He listened to the prayers of His Son.
We are to approach God as a child calling upon his father.
Jesus said, “I thank thee that thou have heard me” and we should have this same confidence when we pray in fact it does not hurt to thank God ahead of time before we receive what we are asking for.
Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God
Jesus spoke these things out loud, so these people would know more how to to pray and to show those Jews who were among this group that He still claimed to be the Son of God.
What was His proof?
*****Joh 11:42 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.
Joh 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
This thought from someone else reminds me of the truth.
By speaking loudly to His Father, Jesus put God in the position of answering His request or denying it.
If Lazarus remained in that tomb, then Jesus would be an impostor.
We should also understand that all the prayers of Jesus were heard by the Father and it is the same for all those who believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many of the lost believe their prayers are heard and maybe God hears them, but He will not respond to the prayers of this person.
Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
Jesus cried with a loud voice because He wanted everyone there at that time to hear Him. The truth is if Jesus had not called Lazarus by name then all the dead that died having the faith of Abraham would have come forth and that would have been the rapture.
Jesus called him out of the tomb as easily as if he had been not only alive, but also awake.
This is what we call sleeping in Jesus!
Death had to give up to the commands of the Lord.
1Co 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
But the rapture is for the Church only!
The Church would not begin its, life until after the ascension of the Lord back to Heaven.
So what happened?
*****Joh 11:44 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.
Notice Lazarus came forth still in his grave clothes and they had to be removed and I imagine someone had to loan him a cloak.
Lazarus remained alive to again suffer a natural death.
It will not be like that for the saint of God when God calls His church out to go home.
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
This is the promise we have from the Lord Jesus Christ!
We should remember what Jesus has already said:
Joh 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Joh 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
You see, this is the truth of the Word of God!