I feel that the Lord revealed much to me about the death and ultimate resurrection of His dear friend, Lazarus. We know when we read this story that Jesus, knowing that Lazarus was very ill, tarried two more days before he would go to Mary and Martha in their grief. Lazarus had already died.
The disciples were perplexed that their Master did not go quickly to his friends. He explained to them that the sickness was “for God’s glory, that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (John 11:4).
Jesus began His journey to Bethany, the home of Lararus. When Jesus told his disciples that His dear friend Lazarus was dead, he also told them that Lazarus was merely sleeping, but that He was going there to wake him up.
I can just imagine the looks on the faces of the disciples after their Lord told them this!
The first one to meet Jesus was Martha, the sister of Lazarus. She said to Jesus “If You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Her faith in Jesus and His power to heal was never in question.
Jesus assured Martha that her brother would surely rise again, to which Martha responded “I know he will rise again in the resurrection to the last day” (John 11:24).
At this point, Jesus makes His fifth “I Am” statement in John’s gospel:
“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” (John 11:21-24).
There is no Resurrection Apart from Christ
And there is no Eternal life apart from Christ. He is God. He IS life. Death has no ultimate power over Him. And all those who believe in him for their salvation – they share His triumph over death!
Lazarus Comes Forth
Jesus called to Lazarus in a loud voice “Lazarus Come Forth!” And the dead man came out” (John 11:43).
Jesus had claimed to be the “Resurrection and the Life” but that day He proved it by raising his friend Lazarus from a tomb in which he had laid dead for over four days.
Those who have died “in” Christ are but sleeping
I suddenly received from the Lord the understanding that ALL who have died in the Lord Jesus Christ are “sleeping.” I do not deny that these people are “dead” (by earthly terms) but I believe that the term “sleeping” signifies that just as our Lord did with Lazarus, He will do the same during the Rapture for all who “sleep in Christ” and who are alive in Christ. This is by no means “Soul sleep.” That is not Biblical. Jesus is telling his followers that those who have died in Him will be awakened once again, hence the term “sleeping in Him.
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 1: 14-17).
Come up Hither
“And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them” (Revelation 11:12).