by Tony Nester

Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead
Tony R. Nester
John 11:1-44

Jesus had enjoyed a special friendship with Mary, her sister Martha, and their brother Lazarus. There home was in Bethany, a town of less than two miles east of Jerusalem. When in Jerusalem Jesus would preach, teach, and heal the sick. He would be confronted by the religious authorities and respond to their accusations that he was a law-breaker and not of God. Then, for rest and renewal, Jesus would retreat to Bethany and enjoy the hospitality and companionship of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Then one day when Jesus was in the north away from Bethany and Jerusalem Lazarus fell into sickness.

(John 11:3 NRSV) ''So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ''Lord, he whom you love is ill.''''

When he heard this news Jesus gave a surprising reply:

(John 11:4 NRSV) ''But when Jesus heard it, he said, ''This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God's glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.''''

This verse is the key to the story of raising Lazarus from the dead. Note carefully Jesus' words: the FINAL result will not be death, but glory. The immediate impact of Lazarus' illness and following death would be suffering, death, and grief. But Jesus saw beyond the immediate and looked beyond to the final result. The end of this would be glory, and that's what Jesus kept in view.

Jesus would very soon take the same approach with his own death on the cross. The immediate impact of the cross would be humiliation, loneliness, agony, and death. But there was a reality beyond the immediate impact of the cross. Beyond the cross was resurrection and the glory of God. So the Scriptures say of Jesus . . .

(Hebrews 12:2 NRSV) ''.. who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.''

So too we are meant by faith to look beyond the immediacy of our disappointments and ou ...

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