6 important principles from the story of Yeshua raising Lazarus from the dead
I was listening to a sermon recently and the speaker was sharing about a very familiar section of Scripture from John chapter 11, which dealt with Lazarus being raised from the dead. As the speaker gave this powerful message of life from the dead he shared about how not only did this story apply to those physically dead it also applied to those who were dead in sin. That morning those verses stirred my heart and caused me to take time later that night to re-read and re-think about those passages in a new light.
While there is no doubt that life from the dead is a great miracle and as is the case of Lazarus something we should rejoice in, I would like us to look at six principles within the text that can help us to better understand our role in this miracle of life from the dead. A miracle that happens much more often than we may realize.
The first principle is found in John 11:1-3: Identify that someone is sick and or dead.
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Miriam and her sister Martha. This was the same Miriam who anointed the Master with perfume and wiped His feet with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent a word to Yeshua, saying, “Master, the one you love is sick!”
Notice that the two sisters Miriam and Martha new their brother Lazarus was ill. They responded by sending word to Yeshua (Jesus). Also note that Lazarus is identified as the one Yeshua loved. To often we picture Lazarus as a type or representation of a person who is lost in sin, someone who has not yet come to faith in the Messiah. Yet it is clear from the text that Lazarus had been in relationship with Yeshua. I believe Lazarus is to be used as an example of someone who has been redeemed and yet has become spiritually ill and ultimately becomes spiritually dead.
The second principle is found in John 11:21-27: Go to G-D about it.
We further notice that when the sisters knew their brother was sick they didn’t go tell the entire town about his illness (spiritual) they went directly to Yeshua the one who could actually do something about it.
Martha said to Yeshua, “Master, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died! But I know, even now, that whatever You may ask of God, He will give You.” Yeshua said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know, he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Yeshua said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life! Whoever believes in Me, even if he dies, shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She says to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, Ben-Elohim who has come into the world.”
Principle three is found in John 11:38-41: Roll away the stone and don’t worry about the stink that may come because of it.
So Yeshua, again deeply troubled within Himself, comes to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Yeshua says, “Roll away the stone!” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to Him, “Master, by this time he stinks! He’s been dead for four days!” Yeshua says to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they rolled away the stone. Yeshua lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard Me.
In order for those who have become spiritually dead to be restored we as the Body of Messiah must roll away every stone we placed between them and restored life. When we roll the stone away don’t be concerned about any stink that your helping to set that person free from death may cause. There will always be those who would rather see people remain trapped in death and will come against you for rolling away the stone.
Principle 4 is found in John 11:43: When G-D cries out with a loud voice get out of the way.
And when He had said this, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
Principles 5 and 6 are both found in verse 44 and may be the most important principles for you and I to make a real part of our personal ministry.
He who had been dead came out, wrapped in burial clothes binding his hands and feet, with a cloth over his face. And Yeshua tells them, “Cut him loose, and let him go!”
Principle 5: Set the resurrected person free.
Notice when Lazarus comes forth his hands and his feet are bound. Even after Yeshua brought him back to life he was still bound and Yeshua told his disciples to cut him free. When someone in our community comes back from the dead they will often still be bound by their sins and failures as well as by our sins and failures in how we treated them during their sickness and death. It is up to the Body of Messiah to cut those bonds and restore them to full movement within the Body.
Principle 6: Remove the grave cloth from their face.
The last step in the process is to remove that which blinds the resurrected and restore person to the fullness of their newness in Messiah. They may be alive and even set free from their bondage but until their sight is restored they will still see themselves as one who was dead and has become partially decomposed. Remember Lazarus was dead four days. It is up to us to remove the cloth from their eyes by our words and actions, we as the Body of Messiah must remove that which keeps them from seeing the fullness of their life from the dead. We do this by reminding them of what the Scriptures say about forgiveness and restoration. We do this by loving them in such a way that the cloth is removed completely.
So we see what Yeshua meant when He said He was “glad for our sakes that He wasn’t there” in John 11:15. Because, if He was, we would not have learned, through Lazarus’ resurrection, these six important principles. Be assured that people in our congregations and communities are resurrected from the dead in just as real a way as Lazarus was and through this example we learn that we have a great responsibility the process.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians, and his most recent book God Has No Plan "B".
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The battle for language
The British Health Services have issued a dictate to not call pregnant women “expectant mothers” since the pregnant person might identify as a male. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that a girl who thinks she is a boy was admitted into the Boy Scouts. What is going on?
We See Reality through Language
While studying philosophy and theology at Wheaton College, then Trinity and McCormick, I came to some conclusions that were highly significant for me. I was taught that the language we use determines how we see reality. Language both reveals and hides reality. Contrary to philosophical relativism that denies there is any real objective truth, I saw the issue as the quest for the right language to reveal the most about reality. I came to understand that we must see through the language of the Bible. The only way to see rightly is to have our minds saturated by the Bible and to view reality through it. The Bible is God’s means for us to see rightly. There is a reason Yeshua himself is called the Word!
Who Controls the Language?
We are now living in an age where the radical left exemplifies the view of John Paul Sartre, and the most radical post-modernism that followed him. He taught that there is no such thing as human nature, and that there is radical freedom for humans to define themselves and choose to be whatever they desire to be. Of course language is a critical element in this process of definition. Indeed, those who are able to gain control of the language in a society can redefine words, demand language conformity and gradually restructure society. In many ways, this is what is happening today.
Biology and Male and Female
The biological aspects of male and female seem obvious, and our conclusions from this should be common sense. One woman said of males who claim to be female: “They can never have the experience of females: to have a period, to bear babies, to give birth, to nurse, to experience menopause.” So what is the answer for those who want to define gender by feelings and desires (which can change)? It is to say that a man can bear babies. This was the Obama regulation for the US Army – to accommodate pregnant “men” in the men’s housing! President Trump rescinded this.
This seems like total craziness to us because we use the language that, until recently, was normal in our societies. Even without Biblical language, all societies by intuition and experience have distinguished between male and female. But this now has come to be opposed by the radical thought police in our societies in the West. We are not to call boys and men “he”, and girls and women “she”.
In my book Mutual Blessing,1 I argue that distinctions are a necessary foundation of mutual blessing. God’s creation order includes distinctions between male and female, animals and humans, plants and animals, and God and humankind so as to enable an order of interdependence for mutual blessing. The Devil hates this order and is out to destroy any sense of God’s design. Whether through communism or politically correct nostrums, the goal is what I call leveling – where everything goes toward nothingness, and there is no creation order at all.
I don’t think most believers have a clue as to the battle they face. One of our young people in a prestigious American college in the Northeast has had to go through sessions of indoctrination to use language that is gender neutral and to embrace LGBT people.
We really have to create an alternative culture and education, and from this base invade the culture and fight the battle for language. This will require great prayer, evangelism and revival.
This article originally appeared in Israel’s Restoration newsletter, May 2018, and reposted with permission.
Dr. Daniel Juster, founder and director of Tikkun International, has been involved in the Messianic Jewish movement since 1972 and currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel, from where he serves and supports the Messianic movement worldwide. Dan was the founding president and general secretary of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations for 9 years, the senior pastor of Beth Messiah congregation for 22 years, and a co-founder of the Messiah Bible Institute in several nations. Dr. Juster serves on the board of Towards Jerusalem Council II, provides oversight to 15 congregations in the USA as well as overseeing emissaries in Israel and the Former Soviet Union. Daniel has authored about 20 books on topics ranging from theology, Israel and the Jewish people, eschatology, discipleship, and leadership.
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Commentary on Parashat Bahar (On the Mountain) and Bechukotai (In My Decrees)
In this week’s reading, there is a very interesting connection between God’s instructions to Israel (through Moses on Mt. Sinai) for when they would enter the Land, and that which Yeshua would ultimately fulfill:
You shall proclaim with a ram’s horn (Shofar Blast) abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. ‘You shall thus sanctify the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.
While the verses above speak of the instructions prior to what is known the “Year of Jubilee”, it has some amazing connections to that which is to come in the future. There is a proclamation with the sound of a trumpet blast that ushers in the Jubilee, which is the year of “release” throughout the Land that occurs every 50 years.
The theme of “release” or being set free is also an important aspect of our Messiah’s return, which will also be heralded by the shofar blast. The fact that the Jubilee is connected to the Day of Atonement is very significant! We understand it to mean that each person will need to have a personal atonement, which again Yeshua Himself has given us as the final atonement for our sins.
There is another important aspect to the “release throughout the Land” that is ushered in by the Jubilee. In Hebrew, the word used for “release” is “דְּר֛וֹר” (Deror). Deror means freedom or independence, which is specifically connected to deliverance from slavery.
Isaiah 61:1–3 uses the same word and expresses the same idea of freedom which we read in Leviticus:
The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty (deror) to captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
It is no coincidence that Yeshua quoted these verses above before He began His ministry of setting people free! Not only did He quote them, but He also said,
Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
Yeshua indeed came to deliver all of us who were in slavery to sin, once and for all! I am so thankful; are you, too?
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel, May 10, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.
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A perspective from a believer in northern Israel
There have been errant rockets falling in Israel the past years from the Syrian civil war, but the recent buildup of Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops establishing bases in Syria has caused Israel to launch strikes because we can’t allow Iranian troops to get established on the Syrian side of the Golan. Then Russia promised to send special missiles that could shoot down Israeli planes and that was the game changer. So the other night we “apparently” launched a massive strike to take out those Russian missiles.
And the strike the other night was just in time because the report was that Iran was planning to completely barrage northern Israel with missiles.
The message really hit home that the war has begun when our local VAAD, community authority, sent a WhatsApp message to everyone in our neighborhood that the bomb shelters are now open. The bomb shelters are locked year round because kids would go down in there and have parties. But now the bomb shelters are open. Yes, from everything I’m seeing here in the North, we are at war.
And with the US Embassy move followed by Guatemala and other Israel-friendly nations beginning May 14, the hatred of the nations who rage against Israel and our G-d is only going to intensify.
But let’s focus on the real reason for all of this. We, the Jewish people, have not followed our G-d but we’ve put our faith in the IDF, in America and political solutions, etc. and we have not turned to the G-d of Israel. So He is going to use this for His glory and that is the good news. There’s already a deepening hunger for truth among Israelis today and I believe that many will seek and find Messiah through dreams and visions as fear of war becomes a place to find peace in the presence of our G-d.
Carolyn Margolin-Hyde was raised in an Orthodox Jewish synagogue near Chicago. She graduated from University of Illinois and as an RN she practiced nursing for many years. After making Aliyah Carolyn served as worship leader at K’tsir Asher, The Harvest of Asher Congregation, in Akko, and then led worship at Kehilat Poriya, a congregation near Tiberius. She has written and recorded many worship songs in English and Hebrew and her worship CD’s include “Just Like Joseph” and “The Latter Rain”- contemporary worship CDs; “Deep Calls to Deep” – a soaking CD; and “Fine Linen” – worship with a touch of the blues.
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Time to cleanse our temple?
Yeshua went through the Temple area at the worship grounds and began to turn over the tables. These were merchants, those who were selling goods to Jews and others who had come to worship in Jerusalem at the sacred Temple.
The selling of goods had become the focus of the hearts and this is what angered our Lord. He came with a whip!
The Lord had shown himself to the Israelites on many occasions in powerful and miraculous ways throughout centuries. He only asked for loyal hearts, often a difficult request to grant. Hearts had turned to money, the sellers recognizing they could prey on innocent worshippers.
Worshippers largely came with a clean heart to the mountain of the Lord. God provided sacrifices in exchange for forgiveness when the heart was astray or unclean (the sacrificial system). If one’s heart was cleaned or repentant he would be forgiven.
Yeshua has become that sacrifice for us now. Yet with clean hearts we must also stand before him, as in times past which were during the Temple’s glory.
Recently I looked at many magazines and ads on social media and more about Israel. I noticed that we in Israel have so much to sell. It seems to me as a wares market, a table at the foot of the temple as in days gone by. I pondered these things as it just seemed somehow a warehouse of goods being sold. We too are all vying for the tourists, albeit selling our best names, our shining stars as in Hollywood to the largest of conferences. I ask myself, has Israel become like those who Yeshua had to turn over the tables in the Temple mount? What happened to humility and the last shall be first? What happened to preferring another before ourselves?
Now I know it is wisdom to sow seed into Israel ministries and God WILL bless those who bless Israel. I wonder about our hearts however. Are we sincere still in our worship?
Is there infighting at a leadership level? Scripture teaches fighting comes because we war for the things of the flesh. We will to do our own desires. Money is a desire of the flesh too.
We must be sure our hearts are on the Lord. We also must be sure to keep holy to our brothers. We should never be in competition or trying to sell ourselves better than another brother. I think that is sinful.
We may belong to certain financial institutions claiming we are more honest than the next guy in ministry too. I assure you that when you are a federal accountable church to a government, Israel (Amuta) or the USA (501c3) you are closely monitored. No financial institution can be a better watch do than they can. This is a personal observation. If one is in good standing on that front, Christians should not hesitate to bless there.
There are many small ministries in Israel who cannot advertise, some of that is because they only speak Hebrew. Ads are reserved mostly for those in English. Those ads which carry an option to donate.
I just think it’s time that we act a bit more like we live and represent the Holy Land. We really don’t have to market ourselves. I also worry we are becoming as the Temple table sellers. Maybe we should start a ministry eBay type web page? Sometimes it seems as we are exactly like the world. God commands us NOT to be as the world, so what are we doing? What really is in our hearts when we advertise and ask for donations in advertising? I hope we would do a soul check and ask God if we are somehow cheapening the gospel and his death that we may have eternal life.
Are some ministry advertisements closer to an eBay sale? The brightest colors, the biggest names in ministry
All on the backdrop of a Biblical place. Am I aiming at the highest bidder or is my heart pure in worship? Whatever the answer, should we examine our actions? Maybe… maybe not?
As a smaller ministry we do not have funds to have many videos and fancy ads. Many people don’t even know who we are. Yet God supplies with almost no social media or advertising. I do wonder if I had a table at the foot of the Temple today. I would pray Yeshua would not come and turn over my table and accuse me of making His Fathers’ house a den of thieves or robbers (various translations).
As we ARE His Temple today, we should take every step to make sure holiness and purity are constant in our hearts. If we have sinned and selling or finances have become priority it’s time to be cleansed. This is what Yeshua our Lord did, He cleansed His Temple. Let’s repent before he needs to come and turn over any tables in our lives. That is… only those who may see a need for that and can truly take a very closer look. Shalom from Jerusalem!
Miriam Abramov is Israeli and resides in Israel. She has published and written 2 books, "Shalom At Last" (co-authored with her husband Shlomy) and also her biography titled "Married to Israel". She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Israel College of the Bible and pursued an M.A. degree in Jewish Missions. She sponsors tours in Hebrew for Israelis to teach about the Bible. She co-leads a fellowship with her husband and teaches on Israel’s feasts internationally. She is recognized with International Journalism status and enjoys writing free-lance about Israel from an informed citizen’s perspective on a variety of subjects connected to the Holy Land.