What About Lazarus Dying?

Published by Nathan

Q&A

12 Mar, 2021

Question: 

What about Lazarus dying? Didn’t Jesus say to the disciples that Lazarus would not die, and yet he did?

Answer:

“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha….  Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” John 11:1, 3-4

“Not unto death.” Jesus declared that the sickness of Lazarus would not result in death, but would be used to highlight the divine nature of the work of Jesus. This must have given initial comfort to the messengers and the disciples, who were also friends of Lazarus. But then Jesus doesn’t go anywhere, doesn’t make any move to go heal Lazarus. They all knew he could. They had seen him do it. And many of them had healed people in Jesus’ name. Then, 2 days later when He finally decides to go he informs them that their friend has died.

“Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” John 11:14

Jesus said this sickness would not be “unto death.” Then he tells them Lazarus is dead. They must now believe the Word of God against the Word of God. This is what Abraham had to do, which made him the father of the faithful. We must have a comprehensive understanding of the word of God or we will misunderstand, be disappointed and, as the sisters, possibly begin to subtly or directly blame God. 

“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” John 11:21

“Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” John 11:32

Jesus wasn’t wrong, He was speaking of the end result, not the process. Sometimes we stumble in faith at the pathway God chooses, the process He employs. We lose sight of the end result. 

Abraham had the commandment that said, ‘Thou shalt not murder.’ He had the word of God that said through your son Isaac you will have a family that cannot be numbered. Through him your Savior will come, in fact, the Savior for the entire world. The only hope for forgiveness, redemption and eternal life would come through Isaac. Then God said, take your son, your only son, and kill him as a sacrifice to God. He knew the voice of God flawlessly so he knew it was genuine. We cannot begin to fully comprehend the agony of that decision. 

Abraham made a decision to not pit the word against itself – but to trust the word against itself – a very important distinction.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Hebrews 11:17-19

He grasped the end result. God’s word could not fail, so he could sacrifice and God would have to raise him up from the dead to fulfill the rest of his word. He didn’t know why he had to go on this pathway or through this process, yet he chose to have faith in what God had promised must happen after the present trial. He was right. 

This is what God themselves did. They went through the actual sacrifice of Jesus for the end result of our salvation, our coming restoration. 

“When Jesus heard that, he said, 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 sickness was not UNTO death; though he passed through it for 4 days. 

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:25-26

He is the resurrection and the life. The dead shall rise again. He who believes will never die as an end result. Further, they will never die the second death, the death that is the penalty for sin. This takes away all fear of death. For the believer, death is but a sleep, just as Lazarus slept, awaiting his resurrection. We need to remember this right now in the midst of global panic and tumult. We are not to fear whatever pathway we face, because we know who is directing our steps and we know the end result. We do not have to be captive to fear. 

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

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

We may pass through death, but if we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we will never experience eternal death. Our end result will be life. Lazarus came forth, and so will you. 

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