John 11:1-44 – The Story of Lazarus’s Resurrection
I love the story of the resurrection of Lazarus. Lazarus’s resurrection is so powerful because it reminds us of what I have heard my pastor say recently, “it's not over till God says it's over.” It reminds us that God can do anything, that he works in the darkest situations, and that man's impossibilities are God's opportunities. I also love this story because it teaches us that God is not glorified by our sin or sickness and disease, but by our deliverance, healing, and salvation.
In this passage of the book of John, word comes to Jesus that his friend Lazarus is sick, but Jesus waits two days to respond. How long He waited to go to Bethany is inconsequential, it could just as easily have been twelve years like the woman with the issue of blood, or thirty-eight years like the man at the Pool of Bethesda. The point I am trying to make is that it doesn't matter how long, how wrong, or how strong your circumstances seem to be, it’s all the same to Jesus. The same power that heals a headache, can drive cancer out of your body and the same power that helps people stop smoking, can cast out demons.
God told me to write and tell someone today, “your case is not too hard for Jesus.” It may be too hard for you, it may be too hard for your family, for all the skeptics, the lawyers, the drug counselors or the doctors, but Jesus will take your case!
Another thing that this story shows us is that it's never too late. Never give up, and never quit! Never quit praying, never quit confessing, never quit repenting, never quit praising God, and never quit believing. You're closer than you think, your miracle is on the way. Jesus has received the message, that you are sick, that you need His help, He's on the way!
This story also shows us that sometimes God delays answering our prayers. Why? So that He alone gets the glory. Lazarus represents a hopeless cause, an irreversible situation, and a condition that is beyond repair. Hope, from all natural evidence, is dead and buried. The stone being rolled over the opening of the tomb spoke of a situation that was beyond redemption and nothing was ever going to change. But then came Jesus! When there was no hope, God showed up, showed out, and there is no doubt that His power is absolute!
I feel the Holy Ghost stirring in me this morning and I am overwhelmed as He reminds me that the story of Lazarus didn’t end at the tomb. The whole message of this story is one of redemption, resurrection, deliverance, and of healing. I am reminded this morning that I am living example of a “Lazarus Life!”
There was a time in my life where my life, spiritually speaking, was in the tomb. I was dead and buried. I had given up hope of ever experiencing God’s presence again. People who knew me had written me off as gone. Hope was dead and buried in my life and the stone had been rolled over the opening of the tomb. But a praying woman sent word to Jesus, “your friend is sick.” She never gave up hope, she kept calling to the master: come Jesus Clayton needs your help. And Jesus came, He ordered the devil to move the stone, and I heard Him call to me, “I love you, I’ve been waiting for you: Clayton, come forth!”
I had become reprobate, I was killing myself with drugs and alcohol, I had betrayed the Lord, my wife, my family, and my brothers and sisters in Christ. I no longer deserved to be called His friend, but there He was, in the midst of a situation that was hopeless, calling my name, and praise God I heard his voice and I moved toward His presence. Today I am fully restored, saved, baptized in Jesus’ name, and filled with the Holy Ghost. Today, by the grace of a loving God whose name is Jesus, I am a living example of the power of His resurrection!
I was reminded this week how blessed we are to have a God, who is a God of resurrections. One of the men I used to pastor stopped by my place of employment to see me. I didn’t even recognize him when he first walked up to me because his face was very disfigured. It wasn’t until he laughed at something I said that I knew who it was. Then he began telling me a story that left me in tears. He had tried to kill himself with a shotgun, and had blown half his face off. I couldn’t believe it, this was a man I never seen unhappy, always joking, always upbeat, I would have never believed he would have been suffering from such a hopeless despair that he would feel like giving up. He said he moved the gun at the last moment as he said the Lord had whispered to him to stop.
He then began to tell me that the Lord had worked through all this to give him a stronger relationship to Jesus than he has ever had. He recently was baptized and recommitted his life to the Lord. He is living the "Lazarus Life." We talked for a while and as he walked away to leave we were both in tears. He knew me before my failure, and he knew of my return to the Lord. He told me we were both just listening to the wrong voice.
And that is the message God gave me to speak to you today: Listen to the right voice. The devil may be telling you that there is no hope, no chance, and no way out. Don’t listen! Jesus is standing beside you, just like the thief on the cross next to him on Calvary, just like Lazarus laying dead in that tomb, in the midst of your despair he’s calling you name. Go toward His voice and His presence and experience the joy of resurrection, and the life restoring power of the "Lazarus life!"