The death and resurrection of Lazarus is recorded in the Gospel of John. It’s one of many extraordinary miracles performed by Jesus during his three year ministry. And has important lessons for us today.
The death and resurrection of Lazarus teaches that God’s timing is always perfect
Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany are mentioned several times in the New Testament. And it’s clear they had a special relationship with Jesus. So it seems odd when a messenger rushes to tell Jesus that Lazarus is critically ill, Jesus didn’t leave immediately and go to him.
Instead, he stays where he is and shows up in Bethany four days later!
A possible reason is because there was a common belief that when someone died, their soul hovered over the body for three days hoping to re-enter it. But finally left for good when decomposition started. Martha confirmed this had started when Jesus arrived and asked them to open the tomb. She warned that by now there would be a bad odor.
This means when Jesus brought Lazarus back to life, no one could claim a hovering soul managed successful re-entry. But rather, the resurrection of Lazarus was solely by God’s miraculous power. It shows that God’s timing is perfect. And we can trust his timing in our lives today.
The death and resurrection of Lazarus teaches that God’s miracles are not about your faith but his power
We all have moments when we struggle in our faith. Implore God for a miracle. Ask him why? And even though Mary and Martha both believed in Jesus, this was a moment they struggled too. They fully believed Jesus could have healed Lazarus while he was alive and sick. But weren’t so sure when Jesus talked about raising him from the dead.
Martha deferred to the end of time when God would raise all believers. But Jesus talked about the present.
And what further complicates the matter is we have this tendency to mistakenly believe God works based on our level of faith. He will answer our prayers if we just have enough of it.
But Jesus didn’t require a certain level of belief in this Bible story. Or chastise Martha for lacking it. He simply affirmed her belief in him. And in this case–whatever that amount– was enough.
Because it’s not the level of our faith that is important. But God’s omnipotent power.
The death and resurrection of Lazarus teaches God uses our circumstances to Glorify his name
In John 11:14, Jesus appears to demonstrate divine knowledge because he knows Lazarus already died. And perhaps it helps explain why he was not in a hurry to leave. And in John 11:4, he reveals the purpose for it: So the Son of God may be glorified through it.
In other words, God had a plan and was already working to carry it out. Although it didn’t look like it, considering Jesus’ lack of action.
Mary and Martha had a plan too. Get Jesus to Lazarus before he died. Because they knew Jesus could heal him. But God’s plan was even better. Because it glorified him in a spectacular manner. And led even more people to believe in Jesus.
Sure. It’s easy to read of a miracle like this and claim to trust God. Much harder when you’re actually struggling through difficult circumstances. But this story should gives us hope. Because it says God always has a plan. He’s working even when you can’t see it. Only asks you to trust and believe in him. And he will cause all things to work together for good. And his glory.
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