We tend to read miracles written in the Bible as stories told for our benefit. But truth be told, the Word is God is all about God, not about us. We tend to view miracles as to how it would help and encourage us but that’s just a small part of the Scripture. It is for us to believe in the One who is being introduced in the Word.
In the story of Lazarus, people tend to see that it was for Lazarus’ benefit. That the story was all about Lazarus getting raised from the dead and how it must have been so cool for him to experience it. But no. This story WAS NOT for Lazarus’ benefit. It was only for Jesus’ and God’s glory!
Here are 5 important words to remember that the Scripture ultimately aims to highlight Jesus and to glorify the Father.
“So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. “ – John 11:5
Here we find the deliberate delay of Jesus upon hearing the news of Lazarus’ sickness and death. He decided to stay for 2 more days even after hearing what happened to Lazarus and even though He loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
How would you feel if you were sick and the person that you wanted to stay by your side to encourage you and pray for you decided to delay coming to you? Martha and Mary even told Jesus that if only He had been there early, Lazarus would not have died (John 11:21, 32). But here, we see that Jesus’ delay was all part of the plan to once more confirm the prophecy of Jesus’ death and resurrection and to give God greater glory.
“Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” – John 12:7
This was a prophecy that Jesus made to His disciples signifying that He would go away. In verses 23-28, we find Jesus again prophesying of this death and how it will bring glory to the Father. Jesus’ act of informing His disciples of His death and foretelling His resurrection around the context of this miracle shows that everything that happened in the story is all about Jesus’ resurrection from death to life.
“You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” – John 11:42
The variety and multitude of witnesses who were present at the tombstone of Lazarus to watch what Jesus would do gives us an indication that it was more than just raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus wanted the people to see that He is the resurrection and the life — that they would have no other option but to say “Oh! He backs up every Word He’s ever spoken! He must be the Messiah!” More so, Jesus wanted the witnesses to believe.
They assumed and thought that Mary would go to the tomb to weep over her brother, but God had a better plan. He wanted the people to witness firsthand who He really is so that they would believe that the Father sent Him.
“Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen…” – John 11:45
We find two groups of people who witnessed Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The first group is the believers –those who were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. These were the people who knew that the miracle was not just about Lazarus rising from the dead, but that it’s about someone greater. They needed no other proof before they believed for their eyes of faith were opened to the reality of the Messiah who was face to face with them.
“But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.” – John 11:46
There were also those who were full of unbelief and were afraid that many would turn to Jesus. They were offended and went away to report the incident to the high council. It was from that time on that they began to plot Jesus’ death (John 11:53). The miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection was not enough to make them believe in Jesus. Instead, they tried to find fault in what happened. Rather than rejoicing in the revelation of the Messiah, they were hard-hearted and blinded to the truth. There was great unbelief in their hearts. May we never be like the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Ultimately, we see from these 5 words that the spotlight was not for Lazarus to begin with. It was all for Jesus. It was all for God. All for His glory. As we read the Scriptures, may we come to the knowledge that everything written in the Bible is to give glory to the One from whom all things come from and to whom all things return.