Having perspective changes how we look at things. To be given a vantage point that offers a fuller view allows us to see the totality of a situation. In John 11, Jesus’ healing of Lazarus is an incredible miracle, but throughout the account, Jesus is giving us perspective to help us see beyond the miracle and how the miracle is pointing to the larger work of Christ. It’s here that we see that: Jesus is the resurrection, raising us to new life in Him.
1. A Pronouncement of Death: v.1-16
What’s intriguing about this account is Lazarus’ predicament comes to Jesus via a messenger. There is a crises and that crises will lead to glory for God. But it comes in a manner that most could not have predicted. This should comfort us in our own lives. That our crises, the struggles and predicaments in our lives aren’t meaningless. They’re leading to glory, even if we can’t see how in the moment.
This crises that leads to glory is followed by a loving delay that leads to belief. Jesus, upon hearing of Lazarus, intentionally stays where He is! It seems so counterintuitive to us! Why would He do this? It would seem that Jesus’ intent is to help us realize that our well-being is not the ultimate goal. It’s us seeing our need for Jesus, and how He is our deepest need that is of paramount importance. When you consider your life, and you see the difficulties of life, if they are leading you toward a deeper dependency, trust and affection for Christ, then even if the route to get there is gut-wrenching, it’s a good thing because it’s moving us to our deepest need.
2. The Hope of Resurrected Life: v.17-37
In this second scene, Jesus meets privately with Martha, and then Mary and the rest of the mourners come out to meet Him. Here Jesus declares that He is the resurrection and the life. It’s important for us to see that in this declaration, Jesus is saying that He is both our future hope, as well as our present life. This life in Jesus, is an entirely different life. The reason, is that life in Jesus is freed from the constraints of death. It’s not that we won’t physically die, it’s that physical death has no power or authority over us. For those in Christ, even if we die, we still live! We don’t have to fear the grave, but can look forward to eternity while enjoying life today!
As much as Jesus offers hope in life, He also demonstrates a compassion to those in sorrow and grief. He proactively enters into our suffering with us, in order to comfort us. What an amazing God!
3. Jesus Raises the Dead: v.38-44
In a dramatic climax to the account, Jesus goes to the tomb, and tells Lazarus to come out. Remarkably, Lazarus, who had been dead for 4 days, comes out of the tomb! Jesus, just as He is freeing Lazarus from death, frees us from death. As Jesus speaks, Lazarus is brought to life. This is something that is reserved only for God and demonstrated by Jesus. Following that, a dead man obeys his Savior. Raising Lazarus is pointing to the way that Jesus raises us from the dead in our sin. Oh how we should praise God for His incredible, life-giving work in us!
4. A Plot to Kill…that Leads to Life: v.45-53
Ironically, the story concludes, with the religious leaders plotting to put Jesus to death. Unbeknownst to him, Caiaphas prophetically speaks to Jesus’ death. John picks up on this, telling us how this will bring life for us!
Loved ones, let this miraculous account remind us of how God has brought us out of death and unto life. Let it remind us of the hope that we have in Jesus. Let it remind us, that even though we can’t see, God is working in our trials to bring glory to His name! Finally, let this remind us that death has no grip on us, because Christ holds us!