The raising of Lazarus, as recorded in the Gospel of John (11:1-44), is one of the most powerful and emotionally charged miracles performed by Jesus. This extraordinary event not only showcases His divine authority over death but also conveys profound spiritual truths about faith, resurrection, and the compassion of Christ.
1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. 8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? 9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. 11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 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: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. 30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 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?
38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 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. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 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. 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. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 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.
The narrative begins with Jesus receiving news of Lazarus’ illness from his sisters, Mary and Martha. Despite their urgent message, Jesus deliberately delays His journey to Bethany, the hometown of Lazarus, until after he had passed away. This delay presents an opportunity for God’s glory to be revealed through Jesus’ actions.
Upon arriving in Bethany, Jesus is met with grief and mourning from family and friends who are mourning Lazarus’ death. In the face of profound sorrow, Jesus is deeply moved, and He weeps. His tears reveal His humanity and His compassion for those who are suffering.
As Jesus approaches the tomb where Lazarus had been laid, He instructs the stone covering the entrance to be removed. Despite Martha’s initial hesitation due to the smell of the decaying body, she obeys Jesus’ command. Then, in an awe-inspiring display of divine power, Jesus cries out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” (John 11:43). In a moment of miraculous resurrection, Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, emerges from the tomb, still wrapped in burial cloth.
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The raising of Lazarus carries several significant spiritual implications:
The Power Over Death: Jesus’ raising of Lazarus demonstrates His authority over death itself. It foreshadows His own forthcoming resurrection and confirms His identity as the Son of God, the source of life and the giver of eternal life to all who believe in Him.
The Significance of Faith: Throughout the narrative, faith plays a crucial role. Martha confesses her belief in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God, even amidst her grief (John 11:27). This demonstrates that faith in Christ is essential in times of sorrow and loss, as it leads to the assurance of resurrection and eternal life.
The Compassion of Jesus: Jesus’ response to the grief of Mary and Martha reveals His profound compassion and empathy for human suffering. He weeps alongside those who mourn, showing His deep love and care for His friends and humanity as a whole.
The Promise of Resurrection: The raising of Lazarus serves as a prelude to Jesus’ own resurrection, foreshadowing the victory over death that would be achieved through His sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection.
The Invitation to New Life: The miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection offers hope and the promise of new life to all who believe in Jesus. Just as Lazarus emerged from the tomb, those who put their faith in Christ are offered new life, spiritual rebirth, and the assurance of eternal life.
The raising of Lazarus in the Gospel of John is a profound testament to Jesus’ divine authority over death and His compassion for humanity. This miracle not only points to His forthcoming resurrection but also invites us to put our faith in Him, the giver of life and the source of eternal hope. As we encounter this miraculous event, we are reminded of the significance of faith, the promise of resurrection, and the transformative power of encountering Christ, who brings life and light to those who believe in Him.
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