GLAD FOR YOUR SAKES
John 11:4 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. 11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
What strange words are these! Our Lord has healed thousands of both believers and unbelievers, but is here saying that he is glad (same Greek word translated “ye would rejoice” in John 14:28), that he was not there to heal a beloved brother! These words seem to contradict love. But, as one writer states, “His is not a pampering love, but a perfecting love.” And we read in that same sentence that he has an “intent.” And our sovereign Lord never had any intention that he was not able to carry out. And what was his intention? – that ye may believe!
Most of us have been happy to just float along in religion’s stream of tradition all our church-member lives. We have never been introduced to the effect that the issue of God’s glory has upon our little religious playhouse. But the inclusion of God’s glory into one’s life changes everything! For being made conscious of God’s glory, even routine and necessary human actions are brought into the issue! 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
And we are made to rethink sin! For our sin is not just a matter of immoralities which we can remedy by a strong case of the religious “do betters!” We come to see that sin is a matter of our missing the mark concerning God’s glory! Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; And there is no one who can cause us to regain that glory except the Lord Jesus Christ! John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
We must be made to again remind ourselves that those who are justified must live by faith. For the Lord God emphatically stated, “This sickness in not unto death.” And then he states, “Lazarus is dead.” Our only recourse in trying to receive these two statements is to have faith in our Lord who cannot do wrong or lie! We must fortify our faith with the inspired word of God. For faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word.
Here are some verses we must draw from to enable us to properly walk with our Holy God: Isaiah 30:18 And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. Patience is a grace which is most essential to the believer’s walk with the Lord. For those matters which we do not understand with our natural minds, we must patiently await the Lord’s graciousness in revealing their purposes.
Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, We must remember that the gospel is a two edged sword. It has a work both for the redeemed and for the unbelievers. Therefore the Lord, willing to manifest himself to both, endures with much longsuffering those who are fitted to destruction. But this causes the redeemed to have the need to persevere while it seems that wickedness is ruling and reigning in the world. But the Lord is capable of dealing with both groups at the same time! 2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
The righteous must always keep in mind that it was the longsuffering of the Lord which brought them their salvation. For he is not willing that any of them perish, but maintained the work of the Holy Spirit in redemption, even until they were born naturally, so as then to birth them spiritually. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;
The message that the two sisters sent came to the Lord at the time when Lazarus was still sick. The Lord had no farther update from them. Yet he knew that, “Lazarus is dead.” This makes us know that he was aware of that which was occurring in Bethany while he was yet at a distance. And we know by a previously reported sickness, he not only knew about the son’s condition, but healed the nobleman’s son from that distance. John 4:50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.
But in our lesson the Lord withholds himself from Lazarus until he was dead. For, as stated in verse fourteen of our text, Lazarus was already dead before he set out to go to Bethany. Therefore he was not waiting until Lazarus died. He was waiting until Lazarus had been buried four days. But why?
Verse five of our chapter (John 11), clearly informs us that the Lord Jesus loved all three of the little household in Bethany. They had enjoyed the presence of the Incarnated God and his blessings in their very home. But we must remember that unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: (Luke 12:48). Therefore they had been selected to have the Lord Jesus, not just reveal himself as a healer. He had done this to multitudes of people. Luke 6:19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
But this family was special. And this occasion was very special. For the Lord Jesus would not just reveal himself to them as a healer, as he had done to the masses. He would now reveal himself as “the Resurrection!” Mary and Martha both believed that the resurrection was an end time event. But he would show them that the resurrection is not just an event, but a person! John 11:25 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 a resurrection requires a dead man, not just a sick man!
The Lord spoke of raising both those dead in sin and those who were physically dead in John chapter five. John 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
In verses twenty-five and twenty-six he is speaking of regeneration. For the salvation of a soul is a spiritual resurrection from the death and darkness of sin, for he mentions no graves. Then in verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine he is speaking of the bodily resurrection of all the physically dead at the end of the age, for he speaks of all that are in the graves. He IS THE Resurrection!
But let us not easily overlook that little word, “ye.” Remember that he said this to his disciples. …and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; We notice that the word, “ye” is also connecter to the phrase, “for your sakes.” He was especially doing this intending to enhance the disciples faith! We do realize, of course, that both the faith of Martha and Mary were also at issue here, as well as many of the Jews who were with the sisters and also believed. See John 11:26, 40 & 45.
Consider these verses to understand just how far the Lord has gone in order to enhance our faith in him. Isaiah 43:3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Lazarus was ordained to die in order that, not only the disciples, but also Martha and Mary, and many of the Jews would believe.
And we should not find this strange. For it is in the pattern of our redemption by substitution. It is had by the sacrifice of another. John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
Therefore we can see glimpses of the Lord Jesus Christ in the death and resurrection of Lazarus. For when Lazarus came in contact with sickness he died. And when the Lord Jesus came into contact with the sickness of sin, he gave up his spirit and died. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Lazarus’ death was for the benefit of faith to others. The Lord Jesus Christ sired faith for the entire church in his belief that the Father would not leave his soul in hell! Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
It is not stated that Lazarus did anything wrong to bring on this sickness. The Lord Jesus knew no sin that would have brought on his death. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Lazarus was resurrected by the power of God. So was the Lord. Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
After his resurrection Lazarus sat at the table eating a meal with his family. John 12:1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. So did the Lord. John 21:12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
Luke 22:14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
Both Lazarus and Jesus died without the presence of God. John 11:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, … Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Both Lazarus and the Lord had a stone before their tomb. And it was an issue to the believers. John 11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Mark 16:3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
It was at the command of God that the stones were rolled away. John 11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Matthew 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
We must learn to yield unquestioning obedience to our Lord by faith. For he does all things well.
Pastor Gene Breed
November 22, 2018