Story of Lazarus proves Jesus’ deity

Raising close friend from the dead led to key statement

This is Italian artist Giotto di Bondone’s depiction of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in one of Jesus’ last miracles before he was crucified. Di Bondone lived from 1267-1337. (Courtesy Photo)

The story of Lazarus in the Gospel of John 11 shows that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he has the power of life over death.

Ministers Mark Roosinck and Mike Vestal say it also illustrates the difference between man’s time and God’s time.

The Rev. Roosinck, pastor of Westover Baptist Church, said Jesus’ key statement in Chapter 11 is in verses 25 and 26 where he says, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

“Jesus was always directed by the Father to do exactly what the Father wanted him to do,” Roosinck said.

Asked why Jesus wept in John 11:35 when he knew he was about to bring Lazarus back to life, the pastor said it was probably because he was sympathetic to the grief of Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha and his friends.

Roosinck said Jesus and his disciples had often stayed with Lazarus and his sisters and they were all good friends.

Vestal, minister of Westside Church of Christ in Midland, said the story “shows that God cares when people grieve and that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

“There is a large portion of unique material looking at the life of Jesus in John,” he said. “The resurrection of Lazarus is one of the last miracles we read about in the earthly ministry of Jesus because it happened not long before the crucifixion.

“It shows the power of Jesus over death because Lazarus had been dead for four days and it came to mean a lot to the apostles after Jesus arose on the third day.”

Vestal said the story also shows “that God works on a different timetable than we do.

“The sisters were hoping Jesus would come immediately, but he waited,” he said. “The idea seems to be there in the text that he would let his dear friend die and then resurrect him. Jesus saw the sisters’ and friends’ grief and he wept because he cares when people hurt.

“I think it’s interesting to read in John 12:10-11 that some of the religious people wanted to kill Lazarus after he had been raised because of his being a living witness of Jesus’ power over death.”

Vestal said it is not known how long Lazarus lived, but he was probably a member of the first church after Jesus ascended to Heaven. He is not believed to have been assassinated.