“You can have life and live more abundantly. And you don’t have to wait until you get to heaven to get this spiritual life. You get it right now. The Holy Spirit comes to live within, and the Holy Spirit stays there for eternity.” – Billy Graham
“On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realized the new wonder; but even they hardly realized that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.” – G.K. Chesterton
As we read the book of John, we can see plainly that John the Apostle was a worshipper. He was an intimate friend of Jesus, and he is often seen leaning in and hearing the heartbeat of Christ. He gives us stories and insights that other New Testament authors can’t give us because he was so close to Jesus. He revealed things that are unique in all four of his books. What he reveals in John chapter 11 is no exception.
Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”
The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”
Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.
Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.”
Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”
Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”
38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.
This is a life-changing story. So many things we could discuss. But I want to focus for now on verse 25: “I am the resurrection and the life.” Powerful words. I love how Billy Graham, one of the greatest Evangelists Christendom has ever known, says it:
On that summer day when He stood outside the tomb of Lazarus and wept, He said to that small group of people gathered around, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). That was the greatest claim that any man has ever made in the history of the world.
Either Jesus Christ was the greatest liar who ever lived, or He was the greatest con artist who ever lived, or He was a mental case—or what He said was truth.
Then to prove that He was the Truth, He said to the dead man, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43).
If you are outside of Christ, you are a dead person. The place of your spiritual deadness is your daily existence. Your physical body is the tomb of your spiritual death.
Lazarus came forth (verse 44). And Jesus today is calling you out of your deadness. He is asking you to respond to His offer of life. He wants to live within you. He wants you to commit your life to Him in order that His life and all the power of His resurrection might be released in you through the Holy Spirit. That could happen to you today.
Jesus said when we close our eyes in this world, life will not end. The moment we received Jesus, we didn’t receive only the forgiveness of sin, but we received eternal life. The Holy Spirit sealed us with spiritual adoption, with heavenly life. Paul says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:7-9) When we close our eyes in this world, and we will open our eyes to that world. We have this because our King and our Conquerer, our Savior, our Redeemer, conquered sin, he conquered death, he defeated what kept us from God. We have this future in store for us because Jesus took our place on the cross, and suffered for us.
“Lazarus came forth (verse 44). And Jesus today is calling you out of your deadness. He is asking you to respond to His offer of life. He wants to live within you. He wants you to commit your life to Him in order that His life and all the power of His resurrection might be released in you through the Holy Spirit. That could happen to you today.
“What do you have to do? First, you must repent of your sins. Now you do not as a dead person have the ability to repent. But God will give you the ability to repent if you will say Yes to Him. He will also give you the ability to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your only Savior.” (Billy Graham)