(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Yesterday, I heard on the JOY FM Atlanta area station a preacher giving a minute teaching on the Lazarus story. I thought, “Wow! That would be a good subject for a Gem!” So here it is, and I call it ‘Healing or Resurrection!’ The featured Scripture is John 11:21 through 27:
Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother [Lazarus] 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 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 nev- er 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.”
Martha, and then her sister Mary, both said the same thing to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, ny brother would not have died.” (John 11:21 and 32). Why did they both believe this?
- The sickness and death of Lazarus apparently took place near the end of the Lord’s earthly ministry. John chapter 12 records a dinner party at Lazarus, Martha, and Mary’s house in Bethany. If chapter 12 follows closely after the events in chapter 11, John 12:1 tells us that the dinner celebration took place just “…six days before the Passover…,” less than a week before Jesus was crucified!
- The Lord Jesus had been healing hundreds, if not thousands of people throughout His ministry of three and a half years! And most certainly the three siblings who lived in Bethany, about two miles from Jerusalem, had heard about many of His miracles and healings.
✞ There are 33 healings recorded in the gospels that Jesus performed including raising Lazarus from the dead. ✞ Twenty-five of those healings were before Lazarus was raised from death! ✞ Yes, the two sisters had certainly heard of the heal- ing power of Jesus! And they both believed He could heal their ailing brother!
When Martha and Mary “…sent to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick…” (John 11:3), they expected Jesus to drop everything and come and heal their brother! After all, the Lord had healed hundreds, even thousands of others!
- …they had hosted Jesus and His disciples multiple times at their house!
- …as the sisters said in their message to Him, “Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick.” (John 11:3). Obviously, in the sisters’ minds, if Jesus loved them, He would come and heal Lazarus!
- “So, when Jesus heard that he [Lazarus] was sick, [why did] He wait…two more days in the place where He was…”? (John 11:6). Where was He?
✞ It says in John 10:40 that “...He went away again beyond the Jordan [River] where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed.” ✞ Where was John baptizing at first? John 1:28 iden- tifies it as “...in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.” Bethabara is on the east side of the Jordan River.
- From where Jesus and His disciples were, it would take at least three days’ march to reach Bethany (covering 15 or more miles a day).
When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had died four days previously, according to John 11:39. Why did Jesus wait to show up four days after Lazarus died? Four days is significant! From the website, inspired2think.wordpress.com/2015/09/13, this is instructive:
It was extremely significant that Lazarus had been dead 4 days as Judaic law taught that through to the third day, the spirit remained with the body and there was hope of resuscitation to life....On the fourth day, the spirit left the body and went to Sheol or Hades, and there was no hope for life without a miracle. Also, by the fourth day in Israel’s hot climate, advanced decay would be des- troying the body and the stench would have been overwhelm- ing. When Jesus called Lazarus to life from the dead and healed his rotted corpse, the people [hopefully would know]...that He was the true Messiah, performing genuine miracles as the prophets had foretold!
Jesus was giving proof to the Jews from their Scriptures that He was the Messiah, the One sent from God to redeem His people! Of His power it says in…
- …Genesis 18:14 – God said to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”
- …Job 42:2 – “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”
- …Jeremiah 32:27 – “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”
- …Jeremiah 32:17 – “Ah LORD God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm! There is nothing too hard for You.”
Now, let’s get to the point of this Gem! As referred to in the title, Healing or Resurrection?:
- Martha and Mary wanted Jesus to give them a healing for their brother!
- Jesus gave them more! He gave them a resurrection!
Which is the greater miracle in Jewish thinking – especially after four days?
Have you been praying to God, asking Him to give you a specific blessing? Has it been a long time and the Lord does not seem to have answered your prayers?
- Maybe He has said, “No,” or “Wait,” because, in His perfect timing, He wants to give you something better, a greater miracle than that which you have been asking!
- And maybe God wants to teach you more about Himself (concerning His love, His power, His promises, His provision) that you have not yet experienced!
Have patience, dear Christian!
If you are asking for a healing,
He might be waiting to give you a resurrection!