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The Glory of Christ revealed.

The Glory of Christ revealed.

John 11:38-46

“Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Even in the Bible, a book that abounds with God’s miraculous works, the resurrection of people from the dead is unusual. While the Bible records many miracles, from the parting of the Red Sea to Jonah being eaten by a whale and living to tell about it, the number of resurrections is few. In the Old Testament, there are only three documented resurrections (the widow of Zarephath’s son, 2 Kings 17; The Shunammite woman’s son, 2 Kings 4; and the man raised out of Elisha’s grave (2 King 13). In the New Testament, Peter and Paul brought back individuals from the dead (Tabitha, Acts 9; and Eutychus, Acts 20). During the ministry of Christ, there were four occasions of people coming back from the dead mentioned in the Gospels. Therefore, it is especially noteworthy when a person is raised from the grave.

In this passage, we find a familiar story of a resurrection: the occasion when Christ brought Lazarus back to life. What is especially striking is that on most the other occasions, the resurrection happened shortly after the death. Yet, in this instance, Jesus arrives four days after Lazarus had been buried. Martha, ever the practical one, gives expression to the thoughts of all those gathered that day and heard Jesus give the command to remove the stone covering the doorway to the burial chambers; “Lord, by this time, there will be a stench.” The body was already prepared and began decomposing. To raise Lazarus from the dead would involve two miracles; the first would be giving life back to Lazarus. The second would be healing Lazarus’ body by restoring his flesh.

Jesus responds to Martha’s residency and doubts by reminding her that even death is not impossible to God. Rather than Lazarus’ death is the ultimate tragedy, it was an opportunity for God to display His glory. Christ revealed several important truths regarding Himself and His relationship with the Father in this event. First, He points to the unity between the Father and the Son in His prayer. It reveals an intimate, personal relationship of mutual love and involvement.

Second, in His prayer, Jesus also provides us a model of dependence and obedience to the will of the Father. Christ, in His incarnation, set aside the exercise of His divine authority and provided for us a model of how we are to live. Our lives are to be lived, not on our strength, but upon our continual dependence upon the Father who works through us.

Third, the resurrection served to confirm the deity and authority of Christ. Giving life back to the dead is a work that no man can do. Only God has the power and authority over death. Despite all our modern medical advancements, there is nothing we can do to reverse death. We may forestall it for a short time through medicine, but we cannot change it. This can only come through God. Christ reveals his deity by calling Lazarus forth.

Last, this foreshadows the future resurrection of all believers. Our hope is that Christ has power over death. In verse 25, Christ had stated, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” In the face of our mortality, Christ is our hope and confidence. When we have given our life to Christ, we no longer need to fear death, for he has obtained victory over death.

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