Jesus Raises Lazarus From The Dead – Part 1
By Steph Nickel
In the following blog, Stephanie Nickel tells the story of how Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, when it seemed that all hope was gone. But who was Lazarus? History shows that he was a beloved friend of Jesus who lived in Bethany, along with his sisters, Mary and Martha.
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
In John 11:1-15 (ESV) we read another of my favourite stories.
“Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.’ After saying these things, he said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.’ Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’”
Let’s take a look at a few of the truths that stand out in the opening of the chapter. We know that Jesus knew Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary had anointed the Lord with expensive ointment and wiped His feet with her hair. We also read that Jesus refers to him as “our friend Lazarus,” indicating that the disciples knew him as well.
As we learned previously, the man was born blind not because of his sin or the sin of his parents. It was for the purpose of making God’s glory known. This, too, is the reason Lazarus had fallen sick. Jesus said his illness would not “lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the son of God may be glorified through it.”
The Disciples Don’t Understand
As was so often the case, His disciples didn’t understand exactly what Jesus meant or what He would do.
Normally, when we hear of a friend’s illness, we go to them or at least get in touch and send our well wishes. However because Jesus loved this family, He stayed where He was. The disciples may have concluded that the Lord was staying away because those in Judea had been trying to stone Jesus. And we learn later that His absence was confusing and heart-wrenching Lazarus’ sisters. But God had a plan; He always has a plan.
As I mentioned previously, “God disciplines those He loves.” We read this in Hebrews 12:6. We learn from this passage in John 11 that the motivation behind what seems to be His absence and silence may again be love.
Jesus Has Risen From The Dead
Now, since Jesus has risen from the dead, we know from Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave or forsake us, but there are times we feel all we have to go on is our faith in His promises.
Some days seem especially dark. Our prayers, from our perspective, go unanswered. And, truth be told, there are times we question God’s motivation—perhaps, even His goodness.
But God is good and He is loving. In fact, 1 John 4:8 says that “God is love.”
When we look at our own circumstances—or world news, we may not understand what He is doing. We may be overcome with sorrow, anger, or fear, but like Mary and Martha learned, God was up to something they couldn’t even imagine.
If we focus on the Word of God and the truths we learn in its pages, we will find hope to hang on.
God will be glorified and His people will be blessed.
Read the other 3 parts of this series:
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Images courtesy of:
Raising of Lazarus: Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet
Reputed Tomb of Lazarus: Marion Doss
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