Four Days Late
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TEXT: John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 

John 11:2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 

John 11:3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 

John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. 

John 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 

John 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. 

John 11:7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. 

John 11:8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? 

John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 

John 11:10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. 

John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 

John 11:12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 

John 11:13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 

John 11:14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 

John 11:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 

John 11:16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. 

John 11:17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

The beloved Apostle, John, anointed by the Holy Spirit, relates one of the greatest miracles of all time which directly led to the Jews fearing Christ’s authority and to His crucifixion. 

The raising of Lazarus from the dead is a classic story to teach us and build our faith. Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, appeared to be 4 days late! But in actuality He was still on time! 


1) Lazarus of Bethany was a wealthy citizen who lived with his two sisters, Mary and Martha. 

2) They had entertained Jesus at their home and had, no doubt often contributed to His ministry. 

3) Lazarus has grown very ill and his sisters sent a messenger to Jesus to come and pray for him. 

4) Jesus did not come immediately but stayed in the wilderness for two more days. One can suppose it took the messenger at least 2 days travel to get to Jesus. 

5) After 2 days Jesus travels to Bethany -- Although admitting that Lazarus is already dead! Vs. 14 

6) Upon arriving in Bethany, Jesus is told that Lazarus had died and was buried 4 days before! 

7) Many friends had come to “watch’ or for a “wake” for Lazarus and to comfort Mary and Martha. 

John 11:17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. 

John 11:18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 

John 11:19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 

John 11:20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 

John 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 

John 11:22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 

John 11:23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 

John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 

John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 

John 11:27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. 

John 11:28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 

John 11:29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. 

John 11:30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 

John 11:31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. 

John 11:32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 

John 11:33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 

John 11:34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 

John 11:35 Jesus wept. 

John 11:36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 

John 11:37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? 

John 11:38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 

John 11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 

John 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 

John 11:41 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. 

John 11:42 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. 

John 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 

John 11:44 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. 

This story teaches us a great deal about FAITH. Faith is going beyond what should happen in the natural and becomes the substance of our hope, the evidence of what is not seen! Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

Today let’s learn of a faith that goes beyond your normal expectations, your doubts and fears. A faith that sees God do the IMPOSSIBLE! 


1. God has no time limits 

2. God has no physical limitations. 

3. God does not always obey “society’s rules” to accomplish the impossible! 


I God has no time limits! 

The wake/watch was over! Lazarus was dead! He had been in the grave 4 days -- yet God is not impressed with our time limits! Mary and Martha had given Jesus a time limit. John 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 

Jesus, if you had come when we sent for you -- If you had stayed closer to us --- If you had been here -- Lazarus could have been healed. But NO, Jesus, You were not on time -- so we cannot believe anymore! 

Jesus does not have to operate with your time schedule. Your time limits -- limits your faith! Don’t tell Jesus He is late. Believe He can perform beyond your time limits! 


II God has no physical limitations. John 11:23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 

Martha argues with Jesus. “Jesus, I know Lazarus is going to Heaven. I know he’ll have a new body someday. But Jesus, Lazarus is dead! He’s stone cold, stiff, dead! He can’t come back to life. I buried him. I saw him dead! 

Jesus calmly goes about getting to the tomb to speak life to Lazarus. How often do we tell Jesus --- it’s over now. This can’t be done. 

The divorce papers are signed 

The bills are too much 

The job as been lost 

The doctors said “no hope.” 

Yet Jesus says --- Nothing is impossible. 

Don’t limit Jesus to the world’s FINAL pronouncement! 


III God does not always obey society’s 

rules. To accomplish the impossible. Jesus said take away the stone! John 11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 

Martha said, oh no, Jesus -- that would be embarrassing! He’s been dead 4 days and by now stinks! None wanted their wealthy brother – who, no doubt, had been wrapped in the costliest of spices to keep him from stinking during his wake to now be exposed and stinking! 

How often do we tell Jesus -- it wouldn’t be appropriate now! You can’t heal their marriage now -- not after all she’s gone through. Oh he’s learned to cope with his disability -- he doesn’t need healing. Why – he caused his financial troubles -- God shouldn’t help him out. He’s a sinner, he deserves hell, not grace. 

Let Jesus do His work without you judging it’s appropriateness! 

Jesus is the God of the possible! 

He can forgive, deliver, heal, and restore! 

He’s not late -- He’s right on time! 



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Last date updated 01/02/2006

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