John 11 




As we continue our study of the Life of Christ we find the Lord Jesus confronting death.  Last time we saw him having dinner with and confronting a bunch of self-righteous Pharisees.  This week, we see the passing of His good friend Lazarus and His subsequent raising of Lazarus from the dead.  In this passage eternal life is very much a part of the discussion.


THE PROBLEM – Vss. 1-16


The problem presented here is an age old problem that everyone has to deal with it.


Vss. 1-3 – There was evidently a close friendship between the Lord Jesus and Lazarus.  Lazarus was sick. His sisters, Mary and Martha, were also loyal followers of Jesus and Jesus had been a guest in their home, probably on more than on occasion.


Vs. 4 – When Jesus said that the sickness was not “unto death”, He didn’t mean that Lazarus wouldn’t die.  He would die.  But his resurrection four days later would bring glory to God.

We need to remember that many of the problems we face are designed to bring glory to God.  The way God strengthens us during these problems and shows His presence will bring glory to Him.  We must remember that problems are designed to correct, strengthen us, and if we let them, bring glory to God. James 1:2-4


Vss. 5-6 – I read these two verses together because I want you to notice something.  Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, and yet He still delayed His coming to their aid.


I want you realize that when God delays helping you or giving you the relief you think that you need, that He still loves you.  His delays have reason.


Jesus was Perea on the other side of the Jordon River from Bethany which was about two miles from Jerusalem. It is probable that Lazarus died the day the message was sent, even before Jesus got the message that Lazarus was sick. It was customary to bury the body on the day of death. 


Figuring a day’s journey for the messenger to arrive and report to Jesus, two days wait, a day’s journey for Jesus to get to Bethany, Lazarus was in the grave four days as stated in Verse 17.


So why did Jesus delay his arrival? Here is a good possible reason shared by John MacArthur: “The Jews believed that the soul hovered around the body for three days after death, hoping to reenter it. But on the fourth day, after noticing that the body was beginning to decompose, the soul departed. Only then would a death be considered completely irreversible, Lazarus had been dead for four days, and his body had already started to decompose. The Jews therefore would have recognized that only a divine miracle could restore him to life.” John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, John 1-11, (Chicago, Moody Press, 2006), pp. 461-462


In verses 14-15 we see another reason for Jesus’ delay.  It would have strengthened the faith of the disciples.  The time of Jesus’ death was drawing near, and their faith would need to be strong.


The problem in our story is death.

Death has historically been a problem.

No matter how long you or your loved ones live, unless Jesus comes again beforehand, you and your loved ones all will die.


Why is there death?  It all began back in the Garden of Eden.  The Garden of Eden was a perfect environment.  God had told Adam to eat of any fruit he wanted but one. Genesis 2:16-17


The moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God there was Spiritual death and later there would be physical death.  There was a separation between God and Man caused by sin that became part of man’s nature. Romans 5:12, Ezekiel 18:4


The problem of physical death is bad enough. But eternal separation from God and the eternal punishment for our sins that come with spiritual death is an even greater problem.   


Romans 6:23a - For the wages of sin is death;


So, death is a problem for everyone who ever lived.   

We all deserve death physical and spiritual.




Vss. 17-20 – Jesus arrived.  The traditional mourning period was taking place, complete with professional mourners and friends coming to call. People from Jerusalem came as well because Bethany was so close.  Evidently, Lazarus was a prominent man from a prominent family and this would have made his death a major event.


Martha, more forceful in personality of the two sisters, did not wait for Jesus to come to her. She went to Him.


Vs. 21 – This is not necessarily a word of rebuke. It was a statement of fact and faith.  Martha knew that if Jesus had been there He would have healed Lazarus.  There was no question in her mind.


Vs. 22 – Martha’s statement here seemed to reinforce what she had just said about Jesus’ healing ability.  She believed that He still had the ability to heal and work the miracles that He had done in the past.  However, she was not thinking of Jesus was capable of raising her brother from the dead.  Her faith, like ours, had its limits.  The limits we put on our faith are often not limits God wants us to put on our faith.


Vs. 23 – Jesus proclaimed that her brother would rise again. Jesus meant immediately.


Vs. 24 – Martha did believe in the resurrection in the last day and that Lazarus would be part of it.


She wasn’t expecting anything any sooner.


Vs. 25a - Jesus makes a proclamation here that does pertain to the resurrection of Lazarus from the grave, and the resurrection of all believers.


Jesus is the resurrection!  If Jesus is the resurrection, then He could raise her Brother from the dead right then and there. If Jesus is the resurrection, then He can raise you from the dead as well.


Why could Jesus say that He is the resurrection and the life?


We already mentioned the problem of sin.

It is Jesus Christ the, perfect, sinless, Son of God, who laid down his life for us. Romans 5:6-9,

2 Corinthians 5:21


Jesus died to give you eternal life.  Romans 6:23


Jesus is the resurrection because He is the first person to rise from the dead to die no more. Lazarus died again. Colossians 1:18, Revelation 1:5, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23  


Your hope for resurrection and eternal life is found in Jesus Christ who is the resurrection and the life.   


Not only do you have eternal life in Christ, Christian bear in mind that you have abundant life in Christ. John 10:10


PROMISE – Vss. 25b-27   


John 11:25 - …he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:


Jesus is talking about the body here.  It a person believes in Christ, though His physical body is dead, his physical body shall live.


The believer in Christ who has passed away, where is he or she until the resurrection?  That person’s spirit is with the Lord.   


The Apostle Paul made that very clear. Philippians 1:21, 2 Corinthians 5:6-8


So that beloved child, sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or friend who was a true believer in Christ is in Heaven awaiting the rejoining of their spirit with their body on Resurrection Day!  Though he is dead, yet shall he live!   


1 Corinthians 15:52 - In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.


John 11:26 - And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?


The one who lives is the one who believes on Christ.

The one who believes on Christ will never die spiritually.

We will all die physically unless Jesus comes in our lifetime. But spiritually we will live.  


Jesus asked Martha if she believed this.

What does it mean to believe in Jesus?

It means to trust in Him alone for forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

It means that all your confidence is in Christ alone.

You are not relying on your own goodness, your own effort, or your own ability to obey God.


You acknowledge your own sin and inability to save yourself. You turn from your own self effort and your sin to trust Jesus Christ alone as the one who died for you and the one who gives you life.


John 3:36 - He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.


Vs. 27 – Martha expressed her faith in Christ! She is alive in Heaven. She will be part of the resurrection to eternal life. Have you?


PROOF – Vss. 38-45   


Jesus proved that He was the resurrection by raising Lazarus from the dead.


Vs. 38 - After an interview with Mary, they went to the tomb.


Vs. 39 – Jesus commanded that the stone be rolled away.

Martha objected.  He had been in the grave four days and had begun to decompose. He would stink!

Martha reminds me that even though we have faith in Jesus, we don’t always have faith enough!


Vss. 41-42 – Jesus reminded her of His promise and then prayed.


Vss. 42-44 – Jesus gave a mighty shout and Lazarus came forth out of the grave.


Jesus proved His ability beyond the shadow of a doubt.


If your faith is in Jesus Christ, you need to be listening for another shout.  Your loved ones who know Jesus Christ will also hear that shout! 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18







Are you a true believer?  If not, come to Christ this morning!