Bible study notes - Jesus raises Lazarus
Sunday, January 6, 2017
38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 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?
It is not Martha’s faith that will accomplish the resurrection of Lazarus. The Word of Jesus will accomplish this miracle. Martha’s faith, however, will acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and the miracle is the work of God. Martha does believe. Martha will confess her belief after the miracle.
Lazarus has been in the tomb four days. Spices and wraps may delay but will not prevent decomposition of his body. The smell is from the decomposition. Thus, Lazarus is dead. There is no room for a swoon theory (he was unconscious until he woke up in the tomb but never dead) or a theft theory (someone stole the body) and other theories to calm our inquiring minds.
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.
Lifting up eye during in prayer is an enduring posture throughout the ages. Even Hollywood depicts this prayer posture. It is as common as looking down with closed eyes. Prayer begins with faith and ends in faith. Jesus thanks His Father for listening. He praises His Father because His Father always listens to Jesus. However, Jesus ask His Father to raise Lazarus from the dead. The Father sent Jesus for this purpose: that many believe the Jesus is the Son of God and that by believing they might have life in His name. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Jesus was sent by His Father to do this for all people, even if all people do not receive it.
Many Believe in Jesus
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 grave clothes: 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.
It is not the volume of Jesus’ voice that raises Lazarus. It is the voice. God voiced, Let there be light and there was light. Here God voices Lazarus, come forth and he that was dead came forth. The voice did it. The Word of God did it.
The same is true for us in Holy Baptism. All people are spiritual dead to the Lord. We can do nothing from our own strength to have eternal. So also Lazarus could do nothing from his own strength to regain his life. However, in both cases Jesus speaks. The Word is spoken and Lazarus is alive. The Word is spoken in Holy Baptism and you are alive.
Lazarus comes out of the tomb. Generally, when we think that someone is mummified we think of Egyptian mummies. The Israelites did not bury their dead in the same manner as the Egyptians. Lazarus was able to stand up and walk. (Albeit not very well).
Loose him. It is a phrase that is also used of unbelief. Forgiveness from God is the loosing of the cords of death from sinners. Martha’s friends are loosing the burial cloths from Lazarus. Once loose, sins and burial cloths drop off. And let him go.
What is the effect? Many believed in Jesus.
The Council does not Believe
46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
Some of them that believed that Jesus was the Son of God told the religious leaders. They see Jesus as a dangerous false teacher. A teacher who does many miracles. A blasphemous prophet who is stealing the faith of the people. They see Jesus as a threat, therefore, to the people and to the nation.
The High Priest’s Prophecy
49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
Caiaphas, motivated by evil, speaks the Word of God. He is correct. It is expedient that Jesus be the atoning sacrifice for your sins. Jesus will gather together in one the children of God. Jesus will accomplish this to the glory of God even though Caiaphas does believe that Jesus is the Savior.
Jesus Is Quiet
54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
Jesus will act at the proper time.
The Lord’s Passover Draws Near
55 And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him. (Jn. 11:38-57 KJV)
This takes place just before Holy Week. Many travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the Lord’s Passover. The ecclesiastical leaders are seeking to kill Jesus. The people are wondering: Will Jesus observe the Lord’s Passover when power people seek to kill Him, or not?
And that will be our question next week.
If you want to do some homework, read John chapter twelve.
But most importantly, receive the forgiveness of your sins by faith in Jesus.