John 11:41-45
John 11:41 (KJB)
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
Jesus reminded Martha that she must believe and after this gentle reminder of needed faith, she did not object to the removal of the stone. Then Jesus lifted His eyes toward Heaven and began a prayer of thanksgiving to His Father. All those in attendance who will see this miracle will hear that Jesus is praying to His Father and after the many teachings that Jesus had concerning the relationship between Him and His Father, they will now realize that what Jesus had been teaching was real. Jesus thanks His Father that He hears Him. The work of Jesus on earth was in total concord with His Father. This is how the believer must view their Christian walk, that it must be in harmony with what the Scriptures teach because that is the word of God.
John 11:42 (KJB)
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.
Jesus continues His prayer acknowledging the fact that His Father always hears Him. The Jews had previously accused Jesus of working miracles by the power of Satan but here He is showing that He is praying to the Heavenly Father. Jesus widens His prayer to include those who are standing by and that they may believe that God had sent Him. Once they see this miracle, there would be no way that anyone could connect the ministry of Jesus with Satan. (Luke 16:31 KJV) And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man in hell said that if one came back from the dead the other brothers would believe. The parable goes on to say that they have the Scriptures and if they do not believe them, one coming back from the dead will not cause belief. The ones who believe at the tomb of Lazarus, would be the true believers because right on the heels of this great miracle the leaders had already gathered to meet on how they could get rid of Jesus. Luke 16:31 is a perfect application to the attitudes of the Jews.
John 11:43 (KJB)
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
Cried - To call out with authority
As soon as Jesus had finished His prayer, He then cried with a loud voice which carried authority, “Lazarus come forth!” This was the second command Jesus gave at the tomb. Remember in chapter 10, where Jesus gave the teaching on the Good Shepherd? (John 10:27 KJV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: He stated that His sheep know His voice and they follow Him. This is an important principle because Jesus specifically called Lazarus to come forth. If Jesus would have just said “come forth” without a specific name, then every dead person would have come forth. Keep in mind that God the Son is standing at the tomb commanding death to flee and life to return. (1 Cor 15:26 KJV) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 1 Cor. 15:26 tells us that the last enemy to be destroyed is death. If Jesus would have raised all the people in the world, then death would have fled.
There is also a great spiritual lesson here. When God saves one of His Elect, He calls them by name because if He made a general call, then everyone in the world would become saved. The Lord Jesus Christ calls His sheep by name and this also teaches that Christians are individuals to Him and not just a number like we are to the government. Jesus cares about every one of His sheep. Now Lazarus was dead and that is a figure of the believer before they are saved. We are spiritually dead and unable to save ourselves. (Col 2:13 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Just like Lazarus who needed to be resurrected by the power of God, we too, must be resurrected to eternal life by the power of God. Lazarus had no will of his own because he was dead. The Christian before they are saved have no will of their own because they are spiritually dead just as we read in Colossians 2:13. So the raising of Lazarus is a great picture of the raising of the believer to eternal life from spiritual death.
There is another great principle in this verse. It states that as soon as Jesus finished praying, He commanded the stone to be moved. Too many Christians pray about some aspect of their Christian life and then they do nothing after they pray. Praying is an act of faith and doing what was prayed about furthers that faith in God. It does no good to pray about something if there are no plans to pursue it. Prayer without action is like faith without action, they are both dead. What good is asking the Lord to open a ministry door for you if you are just going to continue sitting on your couch?
John 11:44 (KJB)
And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Loose - Untie or set free
Lazarus had come forth upon the command of Jesus. The verse tells us that he was still bound or tied up with the grave clothes that he was buried with yet he was able to come forth. Then Jesus gives the third command to loose him and let him go. Those who were in attendance were to remove the grave clothes and the head napkin. Can you picture in your mind for a minute the astonishment on the faces of everyone who saw Lazarus come out of the tomb alive? This miracle was the most visible and greatest of all of the miracles Jesus did. It showed the power Jesus had over death but unfortunately it was the death knell for Jesus because now the Jews were more afraid of His popularity than ever and had met to concoct a plan to destroy Him.
This verse also contains a great spiritual lesson for us. When a person first becomes saved, they will be carrying the baggage of their former life, that is, the way they lived before they became saved. If a person was steeped in religion, then they will be carrying the grave clothes of religion. If one was steeped in atheism, they will be carrying the grave clothes of atheism. If they were steeped in just worldly living, then they will the grave clothes of worldly living. If they were steeped in drugs or alcohol, they will be carrying the grave clothes of drugs and alcohol. The grave clothes represent what we wore before we became saved. Before I became saved, I wore the grave clothes of alcohol. When I became saved, God took from me the desire to have a drink which means I shed my grave clothes. Just as Jesus commanded that Lazarus be loosed from his grave clothes, we too, when we are raised to newness of life in Christ, we shed our grave clothes which are of the previous life of a living death. (1 Tim 5:6 KJV) But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. This can also be applied to anyone who lives in sinful pleasure, they may feel physically alive but they are dead while they live in that condition. If they die in that condition, they continue on into death or eternal damnation. Jesus commands us to help those who have become saved out of their grave clothes of the life lived in death. We are our brother’s keeper. The more of the old life we shed, the more of the new life we live and enjoy. Basically, we go from tomb to womb, from spiritual death to a new birth in Christ. Any time we choose to sin, then we are putting our grave clothes back on, complete with the stench of death upon them.
John 11:45 (KJB)
Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
All the mourners who had gone to the tomb with Mary were now able to stop mourning because Lazarus was now returning to Bethany with them and there was nothing else to mourn. I think it is very revealing that the verse states “many” of the Jews believed. You would think that everyone who saw Lazarus come out of the grave would have believed. This enforces the teaching we saw before in Luke 16:31, that people will not believe even if one rises from the dead. This is also important to us because salvation is not by miracles but by the grace of God in Christ. People want to perform and see miracles not realizing that even if they do, it will not help their faith in God. Faith is a fruit of the Holy Ghost which is placed in the believer by a silent, invisible miracle which we do not see or feel. The miracles that people desire are on the level of the raising of Lazarus. This they will never achieve, whether by doing or by watching someone else. Faith must have as it its object the Lord Jesus Christ and not a miracle or a supposed miracle worker. Jesus Himself rose from the grave and the majority of the world do not believe.