SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Lazarus is a friend of Jesus. He and his sisters, Mary and Martha, knew Jesus well. In this chapter Lazarus gets sick and, while Jesus takes his time coming to see him, Lazarus dies. When Jesus shows up there’s a funeral in progress and the body, four days dead, is sealed in what's supposed to be its final resting place. Both Mary and Martha exclaim that if Jesus had been there sooner their brother would not have died. Jesus then shows that he has power over death by raising Lazarus back to life.
- Mary and Martha have great faith in Jesus and know that if he showed up sooner, their brother wouldn’t have passed. But God had something greater to show them. In the midst of their loss, God chooses to reveal Jesus to them in a new and powerful way. Though they know first hand that Jesus could heal the sick, they were awed when he raised the dead.
- Jesus says a powerful and provocative statement in verses 25-26, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?" Here Jesus is claiming that eternal life comes through believing in him.
- Instead of rejoicing in this miracle, the Pharisees see it as further reason they need Jesus dead, and plot all the more to kill him.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Jesus said eternal life comes through believing in him, and then asked, "Do you believe this?" That is THE question, and it echoes through history and presents itself to each person.
- Sometimes when bad things happen in our lives it enables God to reveal himself to us in new ways. In this way, some of our worst moments can become some of our best. The Bible says in Romans 8:28, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you believe this? Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life? If not, what prevents you from believing? How could you address the questions and doubts you have? The question is too important to ignore.
- Resolve today that the next time you're going through something difficult you will remember what happened with Lazarus and his sisters and will hold on onto Romans 8:28.