Arise Like Lazarus

Normally, today’s blog would be an encouragement to strengthen your faith but we are going to study the book of John today as well as on Thursday. We are receiving a double portion of blessings from God this week! So, go ahead and read John 11:1-44.

I love God’s perfect timing. As we continue on in this pandemic with all its uncertainties, we are at a place in the book of John where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead! We all need a raising up, don’t we? Let’s see what God wants us to learn.

We learn something endearing about Jesus. From verses 1-3, we learn that Jesus has close friends that are like family to Him. Can you imagine what it would have been like to be best friends with the Savior of the world? A brother along with his two sisters were up close and personal with Jesus.

PONDERING MOMENT: We can be up close and personal with Jesus right now! Because of His resurrection, we can have a relationship with Him while walking on this earth. He is one prayer away from coming into your life.

Jesus is calling us to new life; just like Lazarus.

ADDED INSIGHT: In verse 2, the incident of Mary pouring perfume on the Lord’s feet will be studied in chapter 12.

We learn that Lazarus is sick. His sisters wanted Jesus to know so they sent a message to Him. Notice how Mary and Martha responded by their own reasoning. They treated Jesus like He was just another person. They assumed that they needed to tell Jesus about Lazarus; like He didn’t already know.

QUESTION: How did Jesus’ response to their message show that He was more than just another person; see verse 4? Notice how He didn’t rush to his ill friend; verses 5-6.

Look at verses 7-12. Jesus is in control, isn’t He? He truly is the Son of God when He has the power and the authority over sickness and death. It’s easy to question why He didn’t didn’t go right away to see Lazarus or simply heal him. Why would Jesus let Lazarus suffer or allow his family and friends to watch him suffer?

QUESTION: God gives us the answer to their questions. What is the reason for the delay? The answer is found in verses 9-11 and 14-15.

The answer is the same for us today. God wants us to believe, really believe. God wants us to trust Him and what He says through His Word and by His Spirit. God wants us to look to Him first. But we need help. We need help in seeing life correctly. We have clouded vision due to sin.

QUESTION: Look at verse 16, Thomas understood. What did he say?

How does someone die with Jesus? I want us to stop and ponder this. We need to stop and ask God for wisdom and understanding. We need to ask God to change our hearts and align our lives up with His. We need to confess that we love ourselves more than Him, then make some changes. Changes that will take us into eternity where we will live with Christ forever.

We learn that Lazarus was dead for four days. That is a long time. People were coming together to offer their condolences to the family. We read that Jesus finally arrived.

QUESTION: Martha went out to meet Jesus. How did her comments to Him show that she had limited faith; see verses 21-22? She didn’t quite fully understand who Jesus was. She couldn’t at that time. She didn’t have the whole story.

Aren’t we like Martha? We have an advantage over her, we DO KNOW who Jesus is. We DO KNOW the whole story. We get anxious and we doubt and we take matters into our own hands. We question and look elsewhere when God has given us Himself. When we receive Christ into our hearts, God gives us the Holy Spirit. We are never on our own! Yet, we live independently like we are and we look to Him when we have exhausted our worldly resources.

QUESTION: How did Jesus respond to her, see verse 23?

QUESTION: How did Martha respond? By her response, did she fully understand what Jesus was going to teach her and everyone around her?

Jesus teaches her and He offers the greatest hope ever given to wayward man. “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never die.”

QUESTION: What does Jesus ask Martha in verse 26?

QUESTION: Jesus is asking each of us this same question? What is your response? What was Martha’s response in verse 27?

Martha went into the house and told Mary that Jesus had arrived and that He wants to see Mary. Notice her response.

A PERSONAL QUESTION: Jesus has arrived. In fact, He has been with you since God created you within your mother’s womb. He wants to talk with you. Will you respond like Mary? If not, what is so important that you can’t or won’t?

As we study the next portion of scripture, we notice Jesus getting angry. We see how frustrated He gets over His wayward children with their cloudy vision. Do you frustrate Jesus? People weren’t listening to Him. They did not hold onto His every word. They listened but they didn’t fully hear. They didn’t believe Him because they placed more value in their own opinions.

We see that a man died four days prior. Now it’s time to mourn, grieve and be there for the family. Some questioned Jesus, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t He have kept Lazarus from dying?” Oh, how human nature can block our view of reality. But we can learn and know how God is personal and there is purpose in everything that we go through in this life.

QUESTION: How does Jesus show His compassion in verse 35?

QUESTION: We will be studying Jesus’ resurrection in a few chapters. But notice how Jesus prepares them for it. Look at verse 38-39. How does He prepare them? Read John 20 and see the parallel.

Death could not hold on to Christ. In Jesus, death has no hold on us.

Jesus asks for the stone to be moved aside. Martha responded like any of us would have. We let circumstances around us dictate our thinking and actions and we miss out. We miss out on what God is doing in our midst.

QUESTION: What could God be doing in your midst while you live in this pandemic?

QUESTION: How did Jesus respond to Martha as well as everyone else, see verse 40?

The stone was rolled away. Jesus then spoke. He spoke out loud so everyone would come to believe. “Lazarus, come out!”

QUESTION: What happened, see verse 44?

Please don’t miss this amazing story! We all are needing to be revived like Lazarus. Because of sin, we are dead. We may have breath in us that gives us physical life but spiritually we are dead. God will stop each of our hearts at some point and that will be the end unless….

Unless you see and hear, I mean really see and hear, the words of Jesus Christ. God has given you the Holy Bible so you will know. It is inspired by God and infused with the Holy Spirit. You are to listen whole-heartedly to what God is saying to you. It is time. It is time to make Jesus the Lord of your life. It is time to listen to Jesus over all other voices.

QUESTION: Will you be like Mary and Martha and have faith, even when you don’t understand what is happening or will you be like the multitude of people who can’t see beyond themselves?

This pandemic has pulled the rug out from all of us. We are all bewildered in some way or another wondering what the future holds for us individually as well as a nation and on a global scale. Because of God’s love for us, we have hope and a bright future. It is all because of Jesus! Jesus ministered to people and met their needs. We see this over and over again throughout the scriptures.

My friend, He has not changed. He wants to minister to you, meet your needs and walk with you through all the uncertainties that you are facing. He knows what scares you. He knows what keeps you up at night. He knows that you have bills to pay and mouths to feed. He knows.

And that’s why He is saying to you, “Come. Come and let me show you. I know what lies ahead and I will lead you through the valley. Better days are coming.”

I can attest to this. My daughter went to Orlando last May for the Disney Intern Program. She was there until January. She wanted to get a professional intern with them. She came in second to getting one with Disney’s weddings! This would have been a dream job for her. She applied for other internships but came up short. She moved back home a bit disappointed.

God has plans for each us. He know what tomorrow looks like. Trust Him.

Within a few months she got a job with a fashion company near where we live. She worked for one week and then had to be furloughed due to this crazy virus. She now sits and waits until she is called back. Sigh. More waiting.

Her dad and I encouraged her on how good God is. If she would have gotten the wedding intern, she would have been down in Orlando this spring. She would not have been able to finish it. She would have had to come home and be without a job. God knew. God has other plans for her, better plans. Her heart’s desire was to be in fashion. It seems like God has honored her perseverance and diligence to living godly. He gives you your heart’s desires when you live His ways.

You see, God knows. God cares. When we put our trust in Him, He takes cares of us. Say yes to Jesus when He is calling you out of your tomb and be amazed at how He will orchestrate your life in ways that will blow your socks off! It’s time to believe, really believe!

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