Lazarus… friend of Jesus… and brother of Mary and Martha… is sick. Jesus receives this news while He and His apostles are ministering across the Jordan. He reassures His men that God has a divine purpose behind this sickness…

“It is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” – John 11:4

Jesus and His apostles linger two more days before setting out for the town of Bethany. His apostles are concerned of the danger of returning to the area where the Jews attempted to stone their Teacher. Yet He explains that His friend Lazarus has fallen asleep… and He plans to awaken him.

The apostles counter that if Lazarus sleeps, he will get well. Jesus reveals to them that Lazarus has died. He shares with them that through this event their faith, their belief in who He is, will be strengthened.

Upon their arrival in Bethany, Martha meets up with Jesus. She expresses her sorrow to Him. For if only He had been here sooner, her brother would not have died. Yet she declares her faith that God will indeed answer any prayer of His. Jesus assures her…

“Your brother will rise again.

I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord… I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” – John 11:23, 25-27

Jesus looks with compassion at Martha and Mary as they mourn the loss of their brother. His heart is deeply moved and His spirit is troubled. Here, the only place in Scripture, we read…

“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35

Jesus arrives at the tomb where Lazarus has lain for four days. He asks that the stone to the tomb’s entrance be taken away. When Martha objects, He reminds her…

“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” – John 11:40

Jesus lifts up a prayer to the Father…

“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me… that they may believe that You sent Me.” – John 11:41-42

The stone is taken away, and Jesus calls in a loud voice…

“Lazarus, come out!” – John 11:43

To everyone’s amazement, Jesus miraculously raises Lazarus from the dead! Lazarus emerges from the tomb, still wrapped in grave clothes. This is perhaps the greatest of all the miracles of Jesus’ ministry.

What can we learn from this miraculous event?

♦   Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life  Lazarus needed the new life of the Savior. Jesus is the Giver of Life. He longs for all who are dead in their sins to recognize their need for Him… and the new life that only He can give.

♦   Salvation is found in Jesus alone  Mary and Martha called to the only One who could save their brother. Our prayers for the unsaved… for our loved ones and friends who need salvation… will not go unheard.

♦   Only Jesus has the power to save  Lazarus could not save himself. He needed the power of Jesus. Those in need of salvation cannot save themselves. Only the Savior of the world has the power to save.

♦   Jesus works all in His perfect timing  Jesus calmly waited for the perfect time to depart for Bethany and work the miraculous in Lazarus. He waits patiently for the right time to step in and work miracles of salvation in the lives of the unsaved.

♦   Belief in Jesus is the key to salvation  Mary and Martha believed that Jesus could raise their brother to life. Those who come to Jesus need only believe and He will raise them to new life in Him.

♦   Jesus has compassion on all who are dead in their sins  Jesus wept on seeing the grief of Mary and Martha. He weeps for all who are dead in their sins. He has compassion on their friends and loved ones who are praying for their salvation.

♦   Jesus calls the unsaved to come to Him for salvation  Jesus called to Lazarus to come to Him to receive life. He calls the unsaved to believe and come to Him for salvation and new life.

♦   Jesus’ miracles lead unbelievers to faith in Him  The raising of Lazarus helped the struggling faith of the people present. Miracles awaken unbelievers to the reality of Jesus and lead them to belief in Him.

♦   The miracle of salvation brings God glory  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead to honor and glorify God. When the unsaved find Jesus, their testimony of salvation brings glory to God.

“Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?” – Acts 26:8

Through this miraculous event, we see how Jesus acted in the life of Lazarus… and how He acts in the lives of all who are unsaved. We, as believers, were once dead in our sins. Jesus raised us up to new life in Him. He continues to work amazing miracles of salvation in the lives of unbelievers every day.