Lazarus is Raised, People are Saved

“Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” (John 11:5)

Jesus had three friends in Bethany, and three siblings: Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. One day Lazarus became very sick. His sisters sent Jesus a message that he was sick. Jesus replied, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” (John 11:4) The next two verses say, “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” (John 11:5-6)

Is that a mistake? Shouldn’t it read, “When he had heard that he was sick, he left right away to go to him?” It was no mistake, and Jesus was showing love, as we will see. In the meantime, Lazarus died.

John 11:19 says, “And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.” Apparently, Lazarus had been well-known and well-loved, and his life had touched the lives of others. That’s a good Bible lesson right there: do you use your life to benefit others’ lives?

When Jesus met Martha and later Mary, they both said, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (John 11:21, 32) To their thinking, Jesus came too late. The worst had happened. Some of the Jews with them obviously felt the same way. They said, “Could not this man [Jesus], which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” (John 11:37)

Jesus had the stone taken away from the grave. Martha thought the dead-body stench would be awful, but while the Bible doesn’t say this, there was apparently no stench. Jesus prayed, “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.” (John 11:41-42, boldface added)

Jesus then called, “Lazarus, come forth.” (John 11:43) Lazarus did. Yet the raising of Lazarus was not the biggest miracle. The biggest miracle was in the next verse: “Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.” (John 11:45) Most people there were thinking in earthly terms, but Jesus allowed all this because He was dealing with eternal matters.

Jesus loved the three siblings. Yet the worst problem was not Lazarus’ death. The worst problem was that people there were without Christ and on their way to hell. Jesus didn’t pray, “because of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus I said it, that they might be comforted,” but “…because of the people which stand by [who did not know Jesus as Saviour] I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.”

Why do bad things happen? Why do people, especially kids, get cancer or other awful diseases or special needs conditions? How can a good God let these things happen? We don’t know. We do know that Jesus loved Martha and Mary and ministered to them in their time of grief. He can also minister to people today and give them grace, comfort, and peace of mind in difficult circumstances.

We also know that in heaven, there will be no more diseases or sadness: “…there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) We may have no answers to our “why?” questions now, but we’ll have them then: “…then shall I know, even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

To see how to have your sins forgiven and a home in heaven by receiving Jesus as Saviour, please go to, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”

Brian Miller 5/10/2023

Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822