John 10:11 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 eunto 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.
When Jesus first got word, He heard that Lazarus was sick. Then He waited two days were he was before going to the house. As they were travelling, Jesus told the disciples He was sleeping, meaning that he slept in death. But the disciples misunderstood, so He plainly told them Lazarus was dead. Thomas, in all his wisdom, says they should go die with him, thinking the Jews would take Jesus if He came near the city. But Jesus ignores Thomas and by the time they arrive, Lazarus has been in the grave for 4 days. This means, at a minimum, it was 6 days after Jesus got word of Lazarus’s sickness.
How long are you willing to wait for an answer to your prayers? Do you trust God no matter how long the answer takes. We will see in a moment that Mary and Martha had their doubts, and we would too, I’m sure! However, the bible has many verses that tells us to wait on God. Isaiah 40:31 is the one most people know. “They that wait upon the Lord…..” you can probably quote the rest. But don’t forget Hosea 12:6, Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:7, Luke 12:35-40, Gen 49:18 and many more verses that tell us to wait on God. We should never rush God because His timing is perfect in every circumstance, and would be for Lazarus as well.
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?
It is interesting to note in this passage that both sisters absolutely believed that Jesus would have healed Lazarus if He had been on time. They did not understand why He delayed His coming. It is almost as if they are upset with Him for not being there on time. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died”. I can understand why they would think that! As you read through the gospels, you will notice that Jesus always healed everyone they brought to Him. EVERYONE! Lazarus would have been no exception!
This time, Martha comes to meet Jesus first and Mary sits n the house, just the opposite of the other time Jesus was at the house. I think Mary was upset He had not come earlier. But the bible doesn’t say that, just my thought. Martha knows that whatever Jesus asks will be done. She also knows Lazarus will rise from His grave in the end. But Jesus tells her that he is the resurrection and the life – Lazarus will live now! He asks her if she believes that, and she gives Him a round about answer, never really saying she believes Lazarus will rise from his grave.
Jesus approaches the grave and weeps. I have a feeling His weeping was more than just a reaction to Lazarus dying. I think He looked at the grave, and the stone n front of it, and knew He would be n that same position only a few short days from now. He knew what He would have to face before that. He knew, yet He remained steadfast. Of course, the people saw these tears as tears of compassion. And most likely that added into the mix of emotions Jesus was feeling at the time.
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. 45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
Martha protested about removing the stone, but eventually did what Jesus asked. Then a simple prayer – nothing robust or long or outlandish, and a cry for Lazarus to come out, and it was done. Lazarus came walking out in the grave clothes. Jesus told them to loose him of those clothes, and Lazarus stood before them alive again. The crowd that had gathered, if they didn’t believe in Jesus before that, they did now.
It was important for Jesus not to get there too early because there would be some who would say Lazarus was never dead. It had to be long enough that he could not have survived in the tomb alive. It had to be unmistakable. And it was. The grave clothes would not have been wrapped around him f he had not been pronounced dead for sure, and the grave would not have been sealed until he was anointed with spices. All had to be done in the right time. It s easy for us to doubt the Lord’s timing in our lives, but we never should. We should just trust Him. Every time!
There are many more lessons we can learn from this story,, but I am going to stop there and leave those lessons to others. Just days before He enters Jerusalem, and He performs one of His greatest miracles. Everyone would take notice!