(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."
We’re often told if something is important to us, that we need to put our heart into it. Putting our heart into something speaks of our desire, dedication and determination all at the same time. All of us have things that are important to us: hobbies, school, careers, relationships, etc. The level of our involvement in these things says a lot about who we are as a person. You see, the heart is often used as a metaphor to describe the true nature and character of a person.
(Matthew 15:19), “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”
Over the next several weeks we're going see three examples of how the heart reveals the true nature and character of people as we examine the story of Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. We begin looking at the heart of Lazarus.
- The Heart of Lazarus Reveals the Gospel
The story of Lazarus if found in the gospel of John, chapter 11. Let's look at the story of Lazarus and see how the heart of Lazarus reveals the gospel.
* Firstly, Lazarus was Dead (John 11:1-14), "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.) 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. 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. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. 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. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead."
Notice Jesus said, Lazarus was dead. He was not sleeping, he was no in a coma, he was not unconscious, he was dead. There was not pulse, no breathing, and no vital signs of life whatsoever. Lazarus was dead. He was in a tomb surrounded by mourning family and friends, but he couldn't hear them. Even the Lord Jesus showed up at his grave, but he was unaware of the presence of the Lord. Lazarus was a dead man! He was unable to respond to his surroundings.
* Secondly, Lazarus was Doomed (John 11:21), " Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." (John 11:32-33), " 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. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled."
As you listen to Martha, Mary and the crowd talk about Lazarus, you get the idea that they have given up on him. In their minds, he is dead and gone and nothing more can be done about it.
* Thirdly, Lazarus was Delivered (John 11:34-44), "And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 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. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, 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. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."
The Bible says that Jesus called for Lazarus to come forth from death and the grave. And Lazarus got up from the dead and came forth. I want us to examine this call.
– Lazarus received a Personal Call (Jesus cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth). When the Lord Jesus called out at that tomb, He issued a very personal call. He called specifically for Lazarus to come out of that tomb! That call was for no one else that day, but it was for Lazarus alone.
– Lazarus received a Precise Call (Come forth). The call was very clear that day. Jesus told Lazarus exactly what he was supposed to do, "Come forth."
– Lazarus received a Powerful Call (he that was dead come forth). This call was a powerful call for Lazarus. It brought him out of death and darkness into light and life! It changed everything for this man forever.
- LAZARUS IS A PICTURE OF THE GOSPEL
(1.) Lazarus was dead. (All who have ever been born into this world are born spiritually dead in trespasses and sin totally oblivious to the things of God.)
(2.) Lazarus was doomed. (Every human being is under the condemnation of God and headed for hell)
(3.) Lazarus was delivered (All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved and delivered from their sins and their condemnation)
That’s the power of the Master’s call! When the call of Jesus comes to a life and when that call is heeded, it has the power and the potential to save and call the spiritually dead to spiritual life.
His call has the power to penetrate the blindness and deadness of sin and awaken the lost person to his need of the Lord.
Has Jesus Christ ever showed up at the tomb of your life and called you to come to Him? Did you go when He called? Or, are you still trapped in the darkness, lost and waiting? If you need salvation, and Jesus is calling you, please come to Him by admitting that you are sinner who has sinned against God, by believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who loves you, died to pay your sin debt, and rose from the dead, and then turn from your sins and put your faith and trust in what Jesus has done for you by asking Him to forgive you of your sins and to save you.
Pastor Allen Jackson