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The Eight Signs of John's Gospel.
The Raising of Lazarus (11:).
pp. 8 - 11
We reach, in this seventh sign, the lowest depths of Israel's night. In the parallel
sign--the second (4: 46-54)--the ruler's son was "at the point of death", and the cry
was, "Come down ere my child die". In this sign death has come, "Lazarus is dead", and
the cry is, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died". While the second
sign shows the national life almost flickering out, the seventh shows life extinct.
In the sign of the healing of the blind man the Lord said that the man was not born
blind because of his own sin or that of his parents, but that the works of God should be
made manifest in him. In the seventh sign a somewhat similar expression occurs:--
"This sickness is not with a view to death merely (free rendering of pros), but for the
glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby" (11: 4).
In all the eight signs there is some element of test; something that necessitates faith
apart from sight or evidences:--
THE MARRIAGE AT CANA.--Woman! what have I to do with thee? (2: 4).
THE RULER'S SON.--Except ye see signs and wonders (4: 48).
THE IMPOTENT MAN.--Wilt thou be made whole? (5: 6).
THE FEEDING OF THE 5,000.--Whence shall we buy bread? (6: 5).
THE WALKING ON THE SEA.--Jesus had not yet come (6: 17).
THE MAN BORN BLIND.--The works of God manifested (9: 3).
THE RAISING OF LAZARUS.--Not death, but the glory of God (11: 4).
THE DRAUGHT OF FISHES.--Have ye any meat? (21: 5).
It is not always possible to understand the reasons for the many dispensational
dealings of God, but one thing we know, that whatever the outward appearance may seem
He abides faithful; He is still the God of love.
This is prominently brought forward in this seventh sign. We know from other
sources of the love that existed between the Lord and the family at Bethany. In this
chapter before us we are told, "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus"; but
instead of continuing "Therefore as soon as He heard of Lazarus' sickness, He hastened
to his bedside and healed him", we read the following strange sequence, "When He had
heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He
was". All through those days one prayer was uppermost in the sisters' mind and heart.
"If only the Lord would come." Separately each sister utters her heart's burden when she
did meet the Lord. "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died" (11: 21, 32).
Those "two days" may have a variety of individual interpretations, but most know
something of their anxiety and despair. Dispensationally too Israel will say:--