Key Verse: “So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” John 11:14-15
Over the past month, we have considered many people together whom God used throughout the Bible. We have seen that many of them were an unlikely choice and we could continue to look at many others. Hopefully, this has been of great encouragement to you, because God still uses the unlikely and desires to use your life for his glory.
Today we are going to finish this series by considering the most unlikely of all people for God to use. Whatever obstacles you think hinder you from being used by God, they all fall into insignificance compared to Lazarus. He was dead!
Jesus would often visit Mary, Martha, and Lazarus at their home on the Mount of Olives. In Luke 10, we have the scene where Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made and Mary was spending time listening to Jesus. Clearly, Jesus had a close relationship with this family because in John 11:3 “the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” Jesus loved this family.
The family had hoped that Jesus would rush back and heal Lazarus, but Jesus kept in tune with his Father’s perfect timing. When he arrives at their house, Mary and Martha are in mourning and Lazarus is dead and buried. In John 11:39 we read, “Take away the stone,” he (Jesus) said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.”
Lazarus has been dead for four days. His body had already begun to decompose, and the odour soaked out from behind the stone. Can you think of anyone less likely to be used, my God? There are probably very few if any read this who has experienced physical death, but the Bible tells us Ephesians 2:1 we were all “dead in our transgressions and sins,”. Romans 5:12 continues “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned.” We may not have experienced physical death, but spiritual each one of us was dead in our transgressions and sins. We were separate from God and as useful as a decomposing corpse.
As Lazarus sisters mourned, Jesus spoke these beautiful words. John 11:25-26 ”Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus walks over to the grave, tells them to remove the stone and “When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John 11:43-44)
The very next verse (John 11:45) says “Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.“ In the following chapter we read in John 12:9-11 ”Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.“
Lazarus was dead in the grave, but two words from Jesus, and he is back alive and brings many souls into the Kingdom. The people wanted to see the man who had moved from death into life and today people still want to see people living in resurrection power. If you are a believer, this too is your testimony. God has taken you from death to life. We are alive by Christ’ resurrection power, and our testimony should be evident for all to see.