JOHN - Chapter 11- I AM the Resurrection and the Life

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

May 30, 2017, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


Chapter 10 ended with Jesus going back to Jericho.   Jesus had to escape the vengeance of the Jews in Jerusalem by a temporary retirement to the place where John first baptized, near Ainon (Jn. 3:23), on the wooded banks of the Jordan. “Many believed on him there.”


 The last time he had visited the home of Mary and Martha was at the winter Feast of Dedication.  It is now April.    In Jericho, fifty long miles intervene between Jesus and their cottage home in Bethany. 


John 11:1-3:  Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (it was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)  His sisters sent to Him, saying, Lord, behold he whom you love is sick.


A messenger is sent with a message --- Yes, Jesus already knew that Lazarus was sick.  He knows far better than we know ourselves every pain we bear, every tear we weep, every perplexing path we tread; but the prayer must ascend.  We have this blessed link of communication between our souls and Heaven!  More especially in our seasons of trouble, (when, vain is the help of man.”)


Prayer brings us near to Jesus.  He may linger, as He did now at the Jordan, but is always for some wise reason; and even if the answer given is not in accordance with our preconceived wishes or anxious desires, yet how comforting to have put our case and all its perplexities in His hand.


11: 4-6:  When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.’  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.


The raising of Lazarus from death was a fixed appointment in time.  Jesus was on time, prayed up, and followed exactly the leadership of the Spirit. 


Lazarus was predestined and ordained to be raised from the dead revealing Jesus Christ as the Resurrection and the Life.  We are all a word sent from God to this planet on a specific assignment. 



All believers who follow the example of Jesus know that we too have a divine schedule to meet, a schedule which demands we be prayed up, paid up, and postured.


We must be awakened by His hand and directed by His voice---everyday.  We must know His plan for that day.  Our tongues must speak words which have been crafted by the Father. 


Jesus was on God’s schedule.  Self determination was not His forte.  The Father’s business demanded discipline and perceptivity.  It created a schedule of its own and required diligence.  It was based on a plan and the execution of that plan predetermined from the foundation of the world.


1l: 7-10: After that, Jesus said to His disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.  His disciples replied, Master, the Jews tried to stone you; and you want to go there again?  Jesus answered, are there not twelve hours in day?  If any man walks in the day, he stumbles not, because he seeks the light of this world.  But if a man walks in the night he stumbles, because there is no light in him.


“The Lord said (through Isaiah) that it is not possible to walk in Him and not have the true light.  It is the absence or presence of His light which is the determining factor of judgment.  Light can only be derived from the Author of Light.  His words, “Let there be light,” still forms universes.  It is the same for the soul of man to whom He utters, “Let there be light.”


Spiritual light produces spiritual enlightenment.  Jesus said, “I AM the light of the world.” (Jn. 8:12; 9:5).  Those who walk in the day seek the Light of the world.  Enlightenment has been the foremost quest of mankind in theological circles. 


If modern hearts are true and will answer honestly, there is not as much spiritual light in our churches as are being claimed.  Evangelists speak of it, pastors claim it, prophets proclaim it, but what is called light is often mankind stumbling in the dark of night.  The Temple crowd of Jesus day were an “embers crowd.”  Today, many in the modern day church are an “embers crowd.”  


The True Light of the World still shines upon those who will follow Him.  He is the Son of God, who walked by the Spirit of God, and heard the voice of God.  The Light of God continues to shine through the church of the redeemed.


Many have tried to redefine the Light of Christ to match their light. 


11: 11-16:  After that He said to them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.  The disciples replied, Lord, if he sleep, he should recover.  However, Jesus spoke of his death; but they thought that He had spoken of Lazarus taking his rest in sleep.  Jesus then spoke to them plainly, Lazarus is dead.  I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent you may believe, nevertheless let us go to him.  Then Thomas spoke.  He is the one called Didymus, to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with Him.


Death = a sleep!  How beautiful the image!  Beautifully true, and only true regarding the Christian.  Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, it was not known that only a man’s body dies, and the soul of the man that has been redeemed by Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life never dies.   


Paul teaches that Jesus “brought life and immortality to light.”  2 Ti. 1:10:  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.


Death was disarmed at Calvary.  So complete, indeed, is the Redeemer’s victory over this last enemy that He Himself speaks of it as no longer a reality, but a shadow---a phantom-foe from which we have nothing to dread.  Whosoever believes in Me shall never die.” (Jn. 11:26).  If a man keep My sayings, he shall never see death.” (Jn. 8:51).


Rev. 14:13:  I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, says the Spirit that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.


The sounds of lamentation had now been heard for four days in the household in Bethany.  The friends and relatives of the deceased had assembled to pay their tribute of respect to the memory of their revered friend. 


11: 17-26:  Then when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had lain in the grave four days.  Bethany was near to Jerusalem, less than two miles away.  Many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary to comfort them concerning their brother.  Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him; but Mary sat still in the house.  Then Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now, whatsoever You will ask of God, God will give it to You.  Jesus said to her, Your brother shall rise again.  Martha said to Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  Jesus said to here, I AM the resurrection and the life; he that believes in Me; though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this?


Do you believe that the dealings of our God are for the strengthening of our faith, and invigorate our spiritual graces?  Do you believe that all things are for our sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God?


Christ unfolded to Martha in a single verse a whole Gospel.  He had irradiated by a few words the darkness of the tomb, “Do you believe this?”


The full grandeur of that Bethany utterance could not be appreciated by her to whom it was first spoken.  His death and resurrection was still, even to His nearest disciples, a profound mystery.  Little did that trembling spirit, who was now gazing at her living LORD with tearful eye, dream that in a few brief days the grave was to hold HIM as its captive; and that guardian angels were to proclaim words which would now have been all enigma and strangeness, “the Lord is risen!’


With us it is different the mighty deed has been completed.  “Christ has died; yea, rather has risen again!” 


The resurrection and revival of Lazarus was a marvelous act, but it was only the rekindling of a star that had ceased to twinkle in the firmament.  A week-more and Martha would witness the Great Sun of all undergoing an eclipse; in a mysterious moment veiled and shrouded in darkness and blood; and then all at  once coming forth like a Bridegroom from his chamber to shine as the living and luminous centre of ransomed millions!


Rev. 1:18: I am he that lives, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.


John 14:19:  Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more; but you see me; because I live, you shall live also.


In Christ, death is no longer death; it is only a parenthesis in life---a transition to a loftier stage of being.  In Christ, the grave is the vestibule of heaven, the door to immortality.


“Believe”, “Only believe” in the risen Lord.  He has purchased all,  paid all, procured all!  Look into that vacant tomb; see sin cancelled, guilt blotted out, the law magnified, justice honored, the sinner saved!


11: 27-35:  She said to him, Yea, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God which should come into the world.  After she spoke, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, the Master is come, and calls for you.  As soon as she heard that, Mary arose quickly, and came to Him.  Jesus had not yet come into town, but was in that place where Martha met Him.  The Jews then which were with her in the house who were comforting her, followed Mary saying, ‘She goes to the grave to weep there.’  Then when Mary came to where Jesus was, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping who came with here, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.  He asked, Where have you laid him?  They said to Him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept.


The Creator of all worlds is in tears!  The God-man Mediator is dissolved in tenderest grief!  Of all the memories of Bethany, this surely is the most hallowed and the most wondrous. These tears form the most touching episode in sacred story.


We know that he also weeps with us.  Ph. 56:8: …you put my tears into your bottle; are they not in your book?


In the volume of the book, it is written that His tears and our tears are bottled and in the book.  As man he wept with us.  He came to bear our grief and sorrow and to heal the broken hearted.  Yes, he felt the anguish of grief as a man that he might bear it for us as God.   At that eventful moment, the Savior had before Him the bereaved of all time---we can consider His eye was roaming at that moment through time to the grief of all of us down to the end of the world.  All whose tears who have been bottled in Heaven were included in those Bethany tears! 


11: 36-40:  Then said the Jews, Behold how He loved him!  Some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have healed this man?  Jesus again groaned in Himself comes to the grave.  It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.  Jesus said, Take away the stone.  Martha the sister of him that was dead, said to Him, Lord, by this time he stinks; for he has been dead four days.  Jesus said to her, Did I not say to you, that if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?


They have now reached the grave.  It is the appointed time for another of God’s divine interruptions into opening the seal of death.  John was the only gospel writer to mention the loosing of Lazarus from the grave and the events leading up to and away from that moment. 


The stone is rolled away, but there is a solemn pause just when the miracle is about to be performed.


Jesus prays!  The God-Man mediator---the Lord of Life---the Abolisher of Death---the Being of all Beings---who had the boundless treasures of eternity in His grasp---pauses by the grave of Lazarus, and lifts up His eyes to His Father.  This is his Godhead and His manhood standing together in stupendous contrast.  At His birth the mystic star and the lowly manger were together; at His death, the ig-no-minious cross and the eclipsed sun were together.  Here he weeps and prays at the very moment when He is baring the arm of Omnipotence.


The “Mighty God” appears in conjunction with “the man Christ Jesus.”  His name is Immanuel, God with us.”


Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I know that you hear me always.


That voice is still eloquent in heaven.  The Great Intercessor still is here, “walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. 


“It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Against that intercession the gates of hell can never prevail, he can utter the challenge to devils, angels, and men, “who shall separate us from the love of Christ?


The moment has now come for the voice of Omnipotence to give the command.  The group has gathered around the tomb. 


11:43:  Lazarus come forth! 


11:44:  He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin.  Jesus said to them, Loose him and let him go.


O most wondrous power---Death vanquished in his own territory!  The sleeper has awoke a moral Samson, snapping the bounds which the King of Terrors had bound him.  The star of Bethlehem shines, and the Valley of Achor becomes a door of hope.  The all-devouring destroyer has to relinquish his prey.


The hour of death is to the Christian the birthday of endless life.  The souls of believers do immediately pass into glory.


You said You'd come and share all my sorrows,
You said You'd be there for all my tomorrows;
I came so close to sending You away,
But just like You promised You came there to stay;
I just had to pray!

And Jesus said, "Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won't be denied;
I felt ev'ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I'm here to remind you that for those tears I

Your goodness so great I can't understand,
but, dear Lord, I know now that all this was planned;
I know You're here now, and always will be,
Your love loosed my chains and in You I'm free;
But Jesus, why me?

And Jesus said, "Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won't be denied;
I felt ev'ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I'm here to remind you that for those tears I



11:45-57- to be continued


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of John Ross MacDuff – Memories of Bethany; and En Pnnto by C. R. Oliver.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors. 

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