THE CHRIST by Pastor George Burkinshaw
John 20:30-31 "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God: And that believing ye might have life through his name." Of the four Gospels found in the Holy Bible, the first three are called the syncoptic gospels. this term comes from a Greek word that means to see together. Biblical scholar's have for a long time noted that Matthew, Mark and Luke all view the life of Jesus Christ in a similar way, while John's Gospel holds a uniquely different flavor.
Matthew pictures Jesus and the King of the Jews, and shows his lineage through David, proving his right to sit on the throne of Israel and is written expressly for the nation of Israel.
Mark reveals Jesus as the suffering servant and therefore was written to the Romans who held the City of Rome in arrogance and pride, they felt the world should serve them. Mark would be a very good book for the American business executives who believe that the world should serve them. They fail to understand their position as servants to the communities in which they live and make their wealth.
Luke views Jesus as the son of mind and writes for the Greeks who always seek after wisdom. A study of the Word of God would reveal to our modern intelligence group that true intellect consists of knowledge of wisdom and understanding, not just wisdom.(1Corinthians 1:17-21)
But at last John's Gospel is unique and different in that John reveals Jesus as the Christ the Messiah the anointed of God. John's Gospel then is written for the whole world because there is not a man alive that does not need a savior.
While the first three deal primarily with events in Christ's life, John deals with the meaning of these events. The reader of the gospels will note that all tell of the miracle in which five thousand were fed. Only John gives the sermon on the bread of life and the meaning of the miracle. There are seven miracles in the gospel of John all reveal Jesus as the Christ and show how salvation comes to men from God.
Today let us look at the seventh miracle, the raising of Lazarus. John 11:42-45, "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. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus come forth. 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." May I first bring your attention to a verse just before our text and see that Lazarus was dead. For verse thirty nine says "Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days." It is important to realize we are dealing with a resurrection and not a resuscitation.
In the past several years there have been several misleading books authored on the subject of life after death attempting to cause the public to think some people have died and come back. I personally do not doubt what the people believe they saw or thought they saw. What the authors never discuss is that people near death are having a traumatic experience of under the influence of various drugs.
It is a well known fact that drowning victims can often, under the right circumstances, appear dead to those attending. Yet the victim is in a state of near death with vital signs completely retreated. With Lazarus, there was no doubt four days dead corruption had set in.
The miracle of Lazarus shows that God has the power to bring the dead back to life no matter how long that person is dead. What God would like the man who has never been Born Again to know is that even though a soul may breath and live physically, without the New Birth he is dead spiritually to God.
Ephesians 2:1 "And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." Without a New Birth, a man can not know God or even really understand the Bible. Have you been Born Again? You may have heard the phrase from televangelist who probably for the most part have never experienced the New Birth. Who by their immoral actions have degraded the word of GOD in the eyes of many that lack understanding. The New Birth is a spiritual awakening to the Word of God and His son Jesus Christ.
How did Jesus give Lazarus life? ...By his spoken word! Jesus spoke to Lazarus directly; Lazarus heard and obeyed Jesus' voice to come out of the grave. Today when a man will hear the words of God from the Bible and receive them personally, Jesus will spiritually resurrect that person. Why did Jesus resurrect Lazarus? The Bible simply states that Jesus loved him, just as God loves the lost sinner today. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world!"
What is important to understand is that if a person does not receive a New Birth in this life, he will not have Jesus call him to a physical resurrection at His return (John 3:3). Keep in mind that salvation is not the keeping of a set of rules, (even though true Christians always try hard to obey God's laws); Salvation is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through God's word, The Bible.