Lessons from the Raising of Lazarus

The raising of Lazarus is one of three stories of individuals that Jesus resurrected from the dead (besides Himself).  We know the disciples saw Jesus perform many unrecorded miracles, so there may have been many more.  As we move towards Easter and Jesus’ own resurrection, I want to study the raising of Lazarus.  There are great lessons in this story!

Lessons from the Raising of Lazarus-rocked rolled away from ancient stone tomb

Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha and they were among Jesus’ closest friends.  Lazarus’ name in Hebrew means “God has helped.” I find no coincidences in the Bible, so the fact that his parents named him before knowing the outcome of God’s help in his life is amazing to me!

You can read the entire story of Lazarus in John 11: 1-44.

Lazarus’ Sickness

Lazarus came down with an unnamed, grave sickness, and when his sisters Mary and Martha realized his condition was worsening, sent word to Jesus for help.

Jesus was preaching out of town, and when he got word of Lazarus’s illness replied, “This sickness will not end in death.  No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” (V4) Then he stayed where he was for two more days.

Jesus is Never Late

We read in verse 5 that Jesus loved this family and often stayed with them.  We might expect (as Lazarus’ family did), that He would come running to help. But God’s timing is not our timing.  His delay in coming to Lazarus is a great example.

When Jesus finally announces that he wants to go to Lazarus, he tells his disciples plainly “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake, I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.  But let us go to him.” (v14)

Reflections:

Just as Mary and Martha called for Jesus to help, we too should not hesitate to call on Him.  They were aware of the miracles he had performed previously.  We too, know of them from the Bible. He can heal!

This is a great reminder that nothing is impossible for God and I shouldn’t hesitate to ask Him for anything!

Have you ever had an issue with God’s timing?  I have.  I get anxious, afraid, and start questioning.  When I think he is slow to answer (my timing), I need to remember that he alone is sovereign, knows what I need, and when I need it.

 Jesus is never late. His timing is always perfect. 

I need to remember this truth and cultivate patience and trust. This will help me withstand the storms of life.

Lazarus died so that Jesus’ power over death would be apparent to his disciples. He was showing them something better than healing.  He was proving he has the power to raise us from death.

Jesus explained quite clearly that his purpose was to reveal God’s glory.

Do I trust him in hard times and see them as opportunities to reveal His glory? (Sometimes…)

I’m working on an attitude of hope and confidence in His control and timing.  I love this quote:

% Encouraging truths about dealing with change

Jesus Comforts Mary and Martha

As Jesus approached Bethany, he discovered that Lazarus had been dead for 4 days.

When Martha heard that Jesus was near, she went out to meet him.  She met him saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” (v21). 

Her full confidence in Jesus’ power was on display.  When Jesus replied, “Your brother will rise again”, she assumed he meant the resurrection on the last day.

Jesus clarifies for her– “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?” (v25)

In faith, she responds, “Yes, Lord.” (v27)

Martha returns to Mary to tell her that Jesus was asking for her.  Mary, despondent in her grief, fell at his feet and said exactly what her sister had said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (v32)

When Jesus saw Mary and all who were with her weeping, he was “deeply moved” and wept. (v33,35) 

Some commentators believe that he was not only weeping out of compassion for his friends but the state of death that was the punishment of sin for the world.

Reflections:

I want to be like Martha and run to Jesus for my comfort.  He is the only one who can give true, lasting comfort.

Jesus didn’t say “I will give you resurrection”, he said, “I am the resurrection.”  Big difference.  Martha’s response? “Yes, Lord.”  That’s the response Jesus hopes to hear from everyone when he asks us if we believe in Him.

What a beautiful picture of the compassion of Jesus as he wept with the mourners.  He saw his friends suffering in their grief and had compassion for his friends. He saw the punishment of death and grieved over it.

 Jesus has the same compassion for us today. We can go to him with our sorrow and frustrations.

The raising of lazarus- empty rock tomb entry overlaid on vivid blue backgroundPin me for later!

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

As Jesus approached the tomb, he asked that the stone be moved away.  Martha warns him that Lazarus has been dead for 4 days, and there would be a “bad odor” (v39)

Jesus gently reminds her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (v40)

As they rolled the stone away, Jesus looked up to heaven and thanked his Father for always hearing him. 

He was thankful that each person standing there would see this miracle and have the opportunity to believe that his Father had sent him.  He would restore the life of his friend and show his authority and power to grant eternal life through resurrection.

I’m trying to imagine the scene as they roll away the stone.  The tomb is dark, was the crowd hushed? What did they expect would happen?

Suddenly Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (v43) Lazarus miraculously appears with his grave clothes still on.  Jesus tells them to remove the strips of cloth and “let him go.”

Reflections:

When Jesus thanked his Father, it was for already answering his prayer.  He didn’t ask God to raise Lazarus, he knew this miracle would happen.

How does that speak to how we respond in faith to Jesus through prayer?

Raising Lazarus from the dead was a remarkable demonstration of Jesus’ power.  He showed the power of eternal life triumphing over death to the crowd and to us.  

Can you imagine how Lazarus felt?  The last thing he remembers is being sick!  The next thing he knows, he is walking out of a grave.  Can you picture the joy and thanksgiving that occurred that day?

How did Lazarus live out the rest of his life?  What were his reactions?  Was he a changed man?  He had to be!

Jesus has done the exact same thing for you and me spiritually. He has called each one of us out of the grave.

What can I do and say, and how can I show my excitement for the work my Savior has done for me?

Resurrection- Our New Life

Jesus used his words in the raising of Lazarus. Lazarus heard his dear friend call him by name and responded.  He calls each one of us by name as well.  When we believe and come to Him, our eternal life begins! We are never far from his infinite love and the abundant life he promises.

Blessings!

AnnMarie

Photo Credit: Ben Burton- Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 thoughts on “Lessons from the Raising of Lazarus”

    1. What a wonderful question, Peter! Thanks so much for asking about this verse. I have read that Jesus rose without His graveclothes because He would never need them again. Lazarus, however, would need them when he dies again. Jesus did the work only He could do- raise Lazarus from the dead. He asks others to remove to remove his graveclothes so Lazarus could walk and live his new life. When we accept Christ, we receive a promise of resurrection. In the meantime, we can remove our old “graveclothes” and “put on a new self” (Ephesians 4:22) Another aspect is that Lazarus needed help in taking off the bindings, as he could not do it himself. It’s a beautiful picture of our faith community helping us when we are struggling. God bless you Peter!

  1. JAMES CHIRCHIL LIBEN

    Thank you for sharing. Just want to ask what can we learn from the person of Lazarus in this episode. And also the people who followed them to the grave etc. All this while we are more focused on Jesus and the miracles and very little is mentioned about Lazarus, the people, what does it means when Jesus called out to Lazarus, why the need to take off the garment from Lazarus etc. Thank you.

    1. Thank you James for your thoughtful questions! The raising of Lazarus shows us Jesus’ sympathy and power and gives us a peek into Jesus’ own resurrection after 3days. We don’t know his age, what he looked like, or his occupation. A wife is not mentioned nor an occupation. He served Jesus and his disciples, supplying a place where they could feel safe and welcome. He recognized Jesus not just as a friend but as Messiah. As far as the people who followed them to the grave, it was considered an important obligation to join with those who mourned the death of a near relative as a sign of support. It was relatives, friends and sometimes even hired mourners. It was common for this period of mourning to last several days. Here’s what the Enduring Word commentary says about taking off Lazarus’s garments (such a great question!)-“Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go”: Jesus did not miraculously remove the grave-clothes from Lazarus, but He asked attendants to do so. Jesus did what only God could do, and then He looked for man’s cooperation for the completion of Lazarus’ deliverance.” I hope this answers your questions! God bless you!

      1. Thank you for sharing the story. I just want to ask what is the implication of the Raising of Lazarus from the dead to our life now.my little brother is asking me this question.thank you very much.

        1. I love this question and am so glad your little brother asked it! That is exactly what our Lord desires- to grow in our faith by seeking out answers to our questions 😊
          We can insert our own names into this story: Jesus calls: “(Your name)- come out!” He wants to save us from a death that keeps us apart eternally. God made us in His image to enjoy a loving relationship with us. But our sins are a barrier between us and our Holy God. Jesus sacrificed His life for our sins to bridge that gap. We only have to reply as Martha did- “Yes, Lord, I believe.”
          This story shows us Jesus’ power over death that is available to us just as it was with Lazarus. But it is not just a physical resurrection but a spiritual one as well- life everlasting with Him!
          God bless- I hope this answers his question! Please feel free to ask any further questions!

  2. Dad is paralyzed, going on 6 years. Mom passed away on December 27th 2020. Please pray for dad also for mom’s soul. Thanks very much

    1. Thank you John for sharing your prayer request. I will put them on my daily prayer list, and you as well. My you experience
      God’s peace and comfort through this! Blessings, AnnMarie

    2. Thank you it is quite understood, my doughter she wants to know, why Jesus had to neglect Marta in the first place

      1. Hello Enock! I’m not sure I completely understand your question. But if you are referring to Jesus not coming immediately when He heard Lazarus was sick, Lazarus died so that Jesus’ power over death would be apparent to his disciples. He was showing them something better than healing.  He was proving he has the power to raise us from death! If this does not answer your question, please let me know! God bless you! AnnMarie

  3. I really needed to hear that God is never late
    as I wait for my best friend to come off a ventilator due to covid pneumonia. She’s on day 8 and we have been praying feverishly for healing. Thank you got your thoughts on this message…
    Amy York

    1. Oh Amy, I am praying for your friend! Heal her lungs, Lord. Be with the doctors and give them wisdom and guidance to know how to best care for her. Give her friends and family your peace; settle it over them as they wait in Your precious timing. We pray these things in the precious name of Jesus, Amen. It is hard to wait on His timing during the tough trials, but He is faithful! Bless you Amy!

  4. I am so deeply moved by this Lesson Glory to God for coming across it you are blessed and I am grateful for being blessed with this lesson by you may God continue to bless you

    1. Oh Gayline, thank you so much! All glory to God who has opened doors to let His Word enter and shine brightly. It makes me so happy when I hear from those who searched His Word and were blessed by it! He is so good!

  5. It is February 2021, we are all locked down in the UK and studying the Prayers of Jesus as a Lent activity in our Connect/house group at Buckingham Parish Church. Your thoughts here are a blessing – thank you. What an amazing event this must have been, stunning, miraculous, defying the Jewish taboo of death, teaching his disciples, challenging the Pharisees – and all leading up to that final, fateful move to Jerusalem, ‘Palm Sunday’ and the events of Easter … Wow. It is still amazing every time I read it.
    PS – I must confess I am a man, but equally busy and blessed as my lovely wife to whom I read your post!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Andrew, and for taking the time to comment. They were a blessing to me! I have been praying lately for God to open the doors wide for His message to be heard through my little blog. It still amazes me how He works in our lives, answers our prayers and stirs our spirits to respond to His Word! We are in lockdown here at well, attending church online. I love your Connect group idea to study the prayers of Jesus for Lent! Prayer is a subject close to my heart (mostly because it has been quite a journey for me!) and Jesus’s prayer life has taught me so much. The story of the raising of Lazarus gave me much to think about too, and especially at this time of year. I would add that my husband also reads my blog, so you are not alone! 🙂 Blessings to you and your lovely wife!

  6. Ackson kanyinga

    Have been inspired by these massages,I would want to start learning the word of God through your website until I graduate.

    1. That’s excellent news! Is there anything in particular you are interested in learning about? I love digging into the Bible and studying His Word! Best wishes and blessings to you!

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