The Seventh Sign: Jesus Christ, the Son of God Raises the Dead
Primary Truth Taught- Jesus Christ proves He is the Resurrection and the Life by raising Lazarus from the dead.
John’s Gospel is a Book of Seven Signs. These signs or we could say miracles that show us something point to the divine nature of Jesus Christ. These signs were hand-picked by John out of literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of miracles that Jesus did while on earth. John has these signs in a specific progressive order from least to greatest.
Jesus turns water into wine– John 2:1-11…Reveals Jesus as the Creator. His power over the natural process did instantly what it takes a grape vine months to accomplish. Many saw and tasted the wine.
Jesus heals the nobleman’s son– John 4:46-53…Here Jesus’ power transcended His location and greatly exceeded even the nobleman’s expectations. Distance was no obstacle to His power. All who were at the nobleman’s house witnessed the healing and knew exactly what time it took place.
Jesus heals the lame man– John 5:1-29…The man was lame for 38 years and was powerless to heal himself. Jesus shows that the ravages of time meant nothing to Him. Even after muscles were gone Jesus could completely restore by His Word. There were many who saw the man carrying his mat.
Jesus feeds the multitude– John 6:1-14…Jesus shows the multitude that He has the power to meet their deepest need. This sign was a springboard for Jesus to teach them that He is the Bread of Life whoever trusts Him will receive eternal life. Many were fed.
Jesus walking on water– John 6:16-21…This sign was mainly just for the disciples. Jesus wanted them to know that He was the Master over forces of nature and the He could avert what seemed to be inevitable peril. His presence would be the guarantee of their safety.
Jesus heals the man born blind– John 9: 1-12…This account takes up a large section of Scripture as John relays all the details of the healing and the greater healing as the man’s faith matures from the Man Jesus to the Prophet Jesus to the Son of Man Jesus. All of Jerusalem witnessed this miracle.
Jesus raises the dead– John 11:1-44
These seven signs are recorded to produce belief within the lost sinner. When a sinner saw these acts or reads about them and the Holy Spirit moves belief is the result. So, the miracles that Jesus did are the proof that what He said about Himself is true.
John 5:36 (ESV)
36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.
John 10:25 (ESV)
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,
John 10:37–38 (ESV)
37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
John 14:11–12 (ESV)
11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
So now we’re about to witness the pinnacle of Jesus’ works that prove He is the Christ, the Son of God so that when we believe we will have life in His name.
Human Need Met
I pray that we believe the words of our Lord. He told Martha that He is the Resurrection and the Life and then He raises Lazarus from the dead. We must completely trust what God tells us is every case and circumstance. He is truth and by believing we will have life in His name.
John 11:38–44 (ESV)
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.”
Our Lord was moved again with emotions. He experienced grief for the death of Lazarus and the tears of his sisters. He experienced a divine hatred and anger toward sin. He wept when He speaks; His words are coming through intense emotion. I don’t think His words were polite or meek. When He shouted remove the stone the entire crowd watched.
We have the same Greek word again that means anger toward an enemy.
embrimōmenos ἐμβριμώμενος deeply moved.
Take away the stone…graves or tombs were often used in the ancient world, they were either created by hewing out a cave or using an already existing cave. Large stones were placed in front of the opening to keep animals and grave robbers from entering the tomb.
At Jesus’ command to remove the stone Martha pipes up to remind Jesus and everyone else that Lazarus has been decaying for four days now and the smell of rigor mortis was present.
Jews did not embalm their dead like the Egyptians and others did. They wrapped the dead body in linen cloth and would add spices and special perfume to the cloth to help with the stench of the rotting flesh but they didn’t embalm.
Martha knew what happens to dead bodies after four days or 96 hours.
After 36 hours a corpse will have severe bloating as the cells start to putrefy and gases are emitted. Eyes will begin to bulge out. Skin will begin turning green and then a marbled color. That’s after 36 hours. Lazarus had been dead 96. His internal organs were beginning to liquefy and disappear. This was the condition of Lazarus’ body when Martha objected by saying that there would be a stench.
We should see that after 4 days there’s not much left to resurrect. The point being that there is no explanation except the power of God.
40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
The Bible is very clear that no human can see the glory of God and live.
Exodus 33:17–23 (ESV)
17 And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
There is one exception. The glory of God which is all of God’s goodness and being and character is found in Jesus.
When we believe, as Jesus tells Martha, we will see God’s power at work through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, when He raises Lazarus God goodness and power are seen by those who believe. Everyone there that day saw the miracle many believed but not all believed. Some became followers and others sought all the more to kill Jesus.
Jesus is the glory of God…
2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV)
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
John 1:14–16 (ESV)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Martha would see the glory of God as she beheld her Savior in all His resurrection power and all His character and goodness.
Beloved, if you desire to see the glory of God look to Jesus and treasure Him above all things. Find in Him perfection and goodness and power.
3. Thanking the Father Beforehand
41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
We should not overlook this part. Jesus was not asking God to raise Lazarus. He was thanking Him for hearing and granting His request. Unlike how the Jews prayed, when Jesus prays He addresses God as Father. He is Jesus’ Father in a special way. Our Lord mentions that His prayer is not a current request, but made so that those people and us would see the glory of God and believe that God sent Jesus. His prayer is a public affirmation that God the Father endorses His mission and that everything Jesus does and says is exactly in line with God’s will.
He and His Father are so in tune with each other that Jesus being infinitely confident that God was going to raise Lazarus could thank God even before the miracle had occurred.
43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Jesus is standing in front of Lazarus’ tomb and literally shouts with a loud voice. The emphasis in the Greek text is the voice. Literally, with a voice loud out of He cried. It was the reverberating voice that said things like…Let there be light and there was light. It’s the voice that spoke and the foundations of the temple were shaken in Isaiah 6. It’s the voice that will sound forth at the last day.
John 5:28–29 (ESV)
28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
One commentator said that God’s voice is so full of resurrection power that if He had not have said Lazarus specifically all the dead would have been raised that day!
Here is the same imagery…
Revelation 10:3 (ESV)
3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 (ESV)
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
There was no waving of a magic wand or some peculiar feat that went before the rasing of Lazarus simply the powerful command of God to come forth. The man who was dead came forth.
That day the grave was robbed of its victory. That day the Resurrection and the Life had the last word.
44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
1 Corinthians 15:54–55 (ESV)
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
John ends this account very suddenly. He doesn’t tell us anything about what Lazarus said or the joyous reunion between him and his sisters. The focus for John was his Lord Jesus Christ and His glory. Once that is seen there is a sharp stop with the story.
Jesus has proven what He said. He told Martha that He is the resurrection and the life and now there is no doubt. The seventh sign is finished. He has shown Himself to be God because only God can raise the dead.
There were many witnesses to this seventh sign.
John 11:45–48 (ESV)
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”