John 11:11 – . . . Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
There are many things I have heard said, that while I knew the language, and could reasonably well define what was said, still lacked understanding of all the speaker desired to communicate. We see a clear example of that in our Text for Today. Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.” He was speaking in the present tense. The King James indicates Jesus said, “Lazarus is dead.” However, if you will look at that statement in a concordance of the Greek/English languages, you will see that Jesus actually said, “Lazarus died.” We do know that Jesus was attempting to explain to His disciples that Lazarus was not simply sleeping, but had died some days before their departure to go to Bethany. I would ask you to think about what is truly stated here. Let me give you an example. Jesus died. But is He dead? Of course, we know the answer is “NO!” Jesus is alive. Once again, what Jesus actually said to His disciples was that “Lazarus died.” My point here is simple. Lazarus died, but when Jesus told His disciples that Lazarus was asleep, I believe that at that moment, Lazarus was indeed ASLEEP.
To explain this, let’s look closely at what Jesus did and said, AND DID NOT SAY, when He arrived in Bethany where Lazarus was buried. I believe Jesus had already prayed, and by faith, had received Lazarus as raised from the dead on the third day before He left for Bethany. Note closely that after His arrival in Bethany, Jesus NEVER prayed for Lazarus to live. He never asked Father to raise Him. In fact, He never approached the situation in any way as though Lazarus was dead. Jesus was on a mission. The only prayer we have recorded by Jesus in Bethany was a simple one. In John 11:41-42, Jesus prayed, “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.” When had Father heard Him? I am convinced in was when Jesus received instructions from Father the day before He arrived in Bethany. And from that point forward, Lazarus was alive, though still in grave clothes and in the tomb, but he was there sleeping. Remember, he had been sick, suffering, and had died. Now for the first time in days Lazarus was in a cool, quiet, dark place, sleeping, resting, and simply waiting on someone to awaken him. And that, my friend, is precisely what Jesus did. When He arrived at the tomb, after dealing with an atmosphere saturated with doubt and unbelief, and even some deception, Jesus had the stone moved from the door of the tomb, thanked the Father that He had heard Him, and called with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” I don’t believe, at that point, it was a raise the dead call, but a true wake up call. Today He is offering a wake up call BEFORE death comes. Hear it and come forth.
Manna for Today – John 11:1-46; Romans 3:4; Matthew 12:37; Hebrews 6:18; John 14:24