John chapter 11

See the glory of God

“And again Jesus was deeply troubled. Then they came to the grave. It was a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. ‘Roll the stone aside,’ Jesus told them.” – Vs 38-39 NLT

In all the times I have read this story, I never made the connection between the death of Lazarus and the death of Jesus that was coming just a short time later. I also never thought about how this event must have gone through the minds of the disciples when there were told that the tomb of Jesus was empty. Did they recall this day? Did they remember that Lazarus had been dead four days but was able to walk out of his own grave? Like so many of the events in the Scriptures, this was just a glimpse into what was to come.

When Jesus arrived at Bethany, His friend Lazarus was dead and buried. But Jesus knew this. He had delayed His arrival for just this purpose. He was going to use this as an opportunity to glorify God and validate His position as the Messiah. The atmosphere in Bethany was dark and gloomy. The cries of mourners filled the air. Hope had given way to despair. Any anticipation of Jesus healing Lazarus from his sickness had faded when Lazarus breathed his last breath. It was over. Even Jesus was too late. Both Mary and Martha confronted Jesus with the words, “Lord, if You had been here my brother would not have died!” They both believed that Jesus could have healed Lazarus. But death was final. Their brother was gone. Yet Jesus responded, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?” (Vs 25-26 NLT).

When they arrive at the tomb, they find a cave with the entrance covered by a stone. Sound familiar? Jesus commands them to remove the stone. Sound familiar? The women don’t expect to find anything inside but a dead and decaying body? Sound familiar? But what does Jesus say to them? “Didn’t I tell you that you will see God’s glory if you believe?” (Vs 40 NLT). So they remove the stone and Jesus calls out “Lazarus, come out!” And then John records, “The man who had died came forth” (Vs 44 NASB). Sound familiar?

This whole event was a precursor to the one coming up in just a few days. Jesus was going to die. He was going to be buried. He was going to be placed in a grave. His death would be mourned by His followers. It would be accompanied by despair and a loss of hope. His death would carry with it an air of defeat and finality. His grave would have a stone rolled in front of it. Yet, that stone too would be rolled away. His tomb would be found empty. Because He is the resurrection and the life. But do we believe? Mary, Martha, and the disciples had seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. But what did they do when Jesus died? They despaired. They gave up hope. They doubted. They failed to believe. The women went to the tomb to anoint a dead body, not to look for a risen Lord. The disciples were in hiding. But Jesus was alive! He had conquered death and the grave. He had paid the penalty for sin. He had satisfied the just demands of a holy, righteous God. And He had glorified God through His life, His death, and His resurrection. But do you believe?

“Did I not say to you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” Do you believe in Him today? Is He big enough for your problems? If He great enough for your defeats and despair today? If Jesus alive and well in your life today? He wants you to see the glory of God in your life today. He wants to prove Himself as the resurrection and the life even today. He can bring joy out of despair and victory out of defeat. He can bring life where there appears to be nothing but death. He can restore. He can revive. He can give life. Do you believe that today? If so, you will see the glory of God.

Father, I want to see your Glory in my life today. But I know I have to believe that nothing is too great for Your Son. I don’t have a problem believing in the reality of eternal life, but I sometimes struggle believing that Jesus can give me abundant life here and now. I doubt and despair. But Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He wants me to believe. He wants to show me the glory of God. May that happen in my life today. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org