Yet Shall He Live

Lazarus

John 11:23-26

Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

In this short passage of scripture we really have two prophecies that are spoken by Jesus,

Thy brother shall rise again,

and

he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

I would like to concentrate most of our attention on the latter prophecy,

he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live,

because this prophecy is not an exclusive prophecy, but it is an inclusive prophecy. The first prophecy in this text,

Thy brother shall rise again,

is an exclusive prophecy which excludes all but Martha’s brother, Lazarus. The second prophecy includes all that believe in Him, including Lazarus. This study of course involves prophecies of Jesus that have been fulfilled. The first prophecy obviously has been fulfilled. History tells us that Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus and then he was put to death by the Pharisees who didn’t want exhibit A of the power of Jesus walking around the streets of Bethany looking very much alive. The second prophecy, the one that includes you and me, has not been totally fulfilled. The prophecy has been partially fulfilled and in such a convincing manner that we can rest assured that like Lazarus we too who believe in Jesus, though we will die, yet shall we live.

Of course the above text is taken from the book of John and chapter 11 of that book. To find out what happened to Lazarus that caused him to be a candidate for being raised from the dead one has to start at the first verse of this chapter. This first verse tells us that a certain man named Lazarus, of Bethany, was sick. Also we find that this is the Lazarus who had two sisters, Mary and Martha. It was Mary and Martha who sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. The bible says that,

Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

Wouldn’t you love to have God petitioned on your behalf and to have it known that you are so intimate with God that the petition would begin,

Father God, He whom thou lovest….

He whom thou lovest; nothing is higher than that. Certainly God loves you, but oh to be so intimate with him to be known in others prayers as

whom thou lovest.

Oh God give me a hunger for you and a hunger for such an intimacy as this. Whom thou lovest…

Verse 4 tells us that,

When Jesus heard [that], he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

This sickness is not unto death. Lazarus did indeed die, but death was not the final result. Life was the final result because the resurrection and the life, Jesus, raised Lazarus from the dead. Also, while we look at assuming room temperature as death and the end, this is not the case with Jesus, who looks at it as the body being asleep. Look at verse 11 which shows Jesus telling His disciples that Lazarus is asleep and that Jesus will go to awaken him. Another way to look at this verse is that the word death, when Jesus said,

This sickness is not unto death,

can be translated as physical death or spiritual separation from God or spiritual death. The Greek word is , and if we take this to mean spiritual death, then Jesus could be saying that this sickness is strictly physical and because of the faith of Lazarus in Jesus, this would not be unto spiritual separation or spiritual death. I believe it to be both that Jesus looked at physical death as sleep and that this would not result in Lazarus being dead spiritually because of his faith in Jesus as the Christ.

In verse 6 we are told that when Jesus heard of Lazarus being sick he therefore abode two days in the same place. Why upon hearing that a dear friend was sick would Jesus abide where he was for two days? The answer is back in verse 4, which tells us,

This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Jesus, as a divine plan, was going to wait for the body of Lazarus to be overcome with this sickness to the point of physical death for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. In verse 15 Jesus tells the disciples,

And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

Jesus was going to show through the physical death and resurrection of Lazarus who He, Jesus, was and is beyond any shadow of doubt. He is the resurrection and the life. He is the Son of the living God. He is God and without Him was nothing made that was made, John 1:3.

When Jesus arrived in Bethany Lazarus had lain in the grave for four days already. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, but Mary sat in the house. Martha displays a very mature faith in a couple of things that she says to Jesus. The first thing she says that shows a deep faith is,

Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

In other words,

Jesus, if you had been here, you would have healed my brother of this sickness and he would be alive.

What a statement of great faith. She knew that Jesus could have healed her brother. Of course now that he’s dead it’s too late. Not for Martha because the next thing she says is,

But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

Even though her brother was dead, Martha’s next response is whatever you ask of God, He will give it thee. This is a person with great faith in her Lord. But we are not finished with Martha’s remarkable faith. Jesus in reply to Martha saying whatever you ask of God, He will give it to you, says to Martha,

Thy brother shall rise again.

Then Martha responds,

I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

I am so glad Martha said,

I know,

and not some weak response like,

Well I believe in a resurrection, but not everyone does. It doesn’t really have to be a physical resurrection, it could be an allegory or just a nice story to give us hope or something.

No, Martha said

I know that my brother will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

We live in a world where Christians or anyone who KNOWS something is looked down upon for portending to know something. We live in a world where it is thought to be loftier to be searching for the truth, to believe that truth cannot be known, or to believe that truth doesn’t exist, than to actually KNOW truth. Martha, praise God, knows something. She has a belief that has taken hold with faith and through these eyes of faith she can see this truth of the resurrection in the last days. By the way, what Jesus does on this day, proves without any shadow of a doubt that this resurrection on the last day will occur, because He proved Himself to be the resurrection and the life. He of course also proved this when He took up His own life again after being in the tomb for parts of three days.

In the next verse, Jesus says something so powerful and central to the New Testament and to who He is that we dare not take it too lightly. He says something in this verse that cannot be blown out of proportion because it is of utmost importance. What He says in this verse separates Jesus from every other religious leader. What He says in this verse makes all other religions and their leaders pretenders and frauds. What He says in this verse is so important because He not only makes a statement of being God, and that salvation is exclusive to belief in Him, but after this statement He backs up this great truth with the only action that could prove what He said, He raises Lazarus from the dead. Here is what He said in John 11:25-26,

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Life is in Christ and Him alone. Acts 17:28 puts it this way,

For in him we live, and move, and have our being.

I believe in eternal security partly because of John 11:25 and 26. Jesus is the life and therefore I have life as long as I am in Him. Are you in Him today? Have you placed your faith in Jesus and what He did at the cross for you? “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”. Martha’s response to these words of our Lord is not disappointing as she again shows a deep faith and love for Jesus when she says,

Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Jesus here also uses a phrase that Jews knew to be exclusive to God Himself. This phrase is

I am,

and Jesus uses this phrase seven times in the book of John. Some say that Jesus never claimed to be God. That statement could not be more wrong and many times it comes from scholars who know better, but are bald face liars. It is not my point at the moment to list all of the times Jesus claimed to be God, or to even list the seven “I am” sayings in the book of John. But I will say clearly though that this is one instance where Jesus uses “I am” in the same since as the answer God gave to the question Moses asked God in Exodus 3:13.

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

And God answered Moses in verse 14,

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM,

and he said,

Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Only God can be the great I am. Because God is not held hostage by time or bound by time, and because He is eternal and timeless, He is always I am. In the past He is I am. In the future He is I am and in the present He is I am. Jesus in this verse uses a term that Jews understood and recognized that this statement was a statement that tied Jesus to God and that it expressed that Jesus was eternal and that being eternal, He was and is God.

I am the resurrection, and the life.

In this verse also we have a wonderful prophecy that is made concerning Lazarus, but as stated earlier, also includes us. The prophetic phrase in this verse is,

he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

Why should we expect a dead person to live? Why should we have hope that our loved ones who have died that believed in Him yet shall live? Why should this be settled in our minds as a foregone conclusion to the extent that there is no doubt? We can be surer of this fact than the fact that I am writing this now and that you are reading this at this moment. How can we be so sure of something and someone we have not seen with our own eyes? We can be this sure because Jesus said,

I am the resurrection, and the life.

We can be assured of this because by faith we have caught a glimpse of resurrection power and resurrection life. We can believe and have faith in the dead living again and in a resurrection and the rapture because Jesus has proved to be the resurrection and the life by raising Lazarus from the dead, and by laying down His life and taking His life up again on the third day. He indeed is the resurrection and the life. He that believes in Jesus, though dead, with all certainty shall live.

I am the resurrection, and the life, he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

In verse 26 Jesus wraps up His claim made in verse 25 with these words,

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

Again life is in the Son and we can believe this because He raised Lazarus from the dead and took His own life up again on that third day. Because of what Jesus says here in this verse, we have assurance that when we pass through the valley of the shadow, it is only a shadow, of death, we fear no evil. It is a shadow of death because we live in Him and believe in Him and therefore we shall never die. This mortal clay that I am clothed in will one day be lifeless and I will lay it aside to be with my Lord. To be absent the body is to be present with the Lord, 2Chronicles 5:8. Then Jesus asks Martha a question after making the statement,

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

That question is simply,

Believest thou this?

Martha not only answers this question but settles every question that could be raised about who Jesus is and where this leaves her and us in the scope of eternity. Martha’s answer is similar to Peter’s response when Jesus asked him,

But whom say ye that I am?

Jesus said that He would build His church on this rock, the rock found in this response by Peter. The rock being that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God. The rock being Jesus Himself. Here is Martha’s response to Jesus when he asked,

Believest thou this?

Martha said,

Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Martha jumps way past the question,

Believest thou this?

and makes a wonderful statement of faith,

I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.

She does first answer,

Yea, Lord,

to the question, but then qualifies her confidence in Jesus being the resurrection and the life. What qualifies Him to be the resurrection and the life?

Thou art the Christ, THE Son of God.

I am not sure you caught that. I’m not sure I can fully get my own mind around that statement,

Thou art the Christ, THE Son of God.

His name is to be praised for He and His name are high and mighty.

Thou art THE Christ, THE Son of GOD.

Martha then goes her way and secretly tells Mary that Jesus is calling for her. Mary also shows great faith in telling Jesus that her brother would not have died had Jesus been there. Verse 33 tells us,

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

Then in verse 34 Jesus asks,

Where have ye laid him?

They said to Him,

Lord, come and see.

This then brings us to the shortest verse in all of the Bible. It is not an insignificant verse though. Don’t judge the verse by the amount of words. The verse, verse 35 says simply,

Jesus wept.

What an important verse. We are told in Hebrews 4:15,

For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

Jesus wept.

Why did He weep? He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, that’s why he tarried for two days. Verse 33 tells us that Jesus saw Mary weeping and the Jews that were with her were also weeping and Jesus groaned in the spirit and was troubled. Sometimes when we are going through times when our hearts literally ache and throb with pain, people will say to us,

I know how you feel.

A past failed president once said,

I feel your pain.

Jesus though is actually touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Jesus felt the despair and entered into their despair just as He entered into our world by being born of a virgin. Jesus wept. He also might have wept knowing what the road ahead had in store for Lazarus. He would not have an easy second physical death because he was put to death by the Pharisees who could not allow exhibit one of the power of Jesus living and walking the streets of Bethany as proof that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

John 11:38 “Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.”

In John 11:39 Jesus said, “Take ye away the stone”. But Martha said to Him, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days”.

John 11:40 “Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” Again, this is the reason Jesus tarried where he was for two days. It was time to show His glory and to show that He is the resurrection and the life.

John 11:41-42 “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. 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.” Jesus here prays in a way that lets those who are watching and listening, know by what power and authority He will raise Lazarus from the dead. This also lets them know what authority and power He has, which is the authority and power of God. He is God incarnate, who was the Son at one with the Father without beginning or end. In fact He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

ohn 11:43 “And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” I believe that Jesus had to call Lazarus by name to avoid every believer under the Old Covenant from being resurrected. This is also personal as we remember Lazarus is called “he whom thou lovest”. Intimates call each other by name and Jesus called Lazarus by name. Have you placed your faith in the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross? Have you been born again? Do you talk to God often and bring all of your petitions to Him? You too can be an intimate of God. It is true that God is not a respecter of persons, however he does have His intimates. In the previous chapter John 10:27 Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”. Lazarus knew the voice of Jesus. Jesus had spent much time at the house of Lazarus and his two sisters and they had heard Him teach and had engaged no doubt in small talk with the Savior.

This brings us to John 11:44 which is the verse in which Jesus works this incredible miracle which proves once and for all that Jesus is in fact the resurrection and the life. This verse reads,

And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Many sermons have been preached on this great text making spiritual application to the physical death of Lazarus and then his physical resurrection to our spiritual experience of being born again. This is a good application, but let us not forget that this is not merely a story that we make application with, but this is a case where a dead man was made to live again. There is a deep spiritual side to this miracle. The reason for this series on the fulfilled prophecies of Jesus is to show his divine nature; to show that he is indeed God. In showing that His prophecies that were not concerning the end time have been fulfilled to the most minute jot or tittle, shows that we can rely on His prophecies about the end times. We can rely on the prophecies concerning the resurrection and rapture of the blood bought saints, because He has proved to be the resurrection and the life by raising up Lazarus and by laying aside His own life and taking it back up again. Because of this we have the blessed assurance that all the things He said will come to pass including what he said later in the book of John in chapter 14 and verse 3,

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.

The word if here at the first of the verse, “And if I go…”, was translated “if” by the King James scholars, and rightfully so. The word if has changed meaning slightly over the years and in today’s English would be translated since. “And since I go and prepare…”. This is not something that is left undecided, it is assured that He has gone to prepare a place for us. We can rest in the promise of this prophecy because our Savior is the way, the truth, and the life. He is also the resurrection and the life.

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

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Daily Bible Verse

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

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