Lazarus sleepeth - It was very common among the Jews to express death by sleep; and the expression, falling asleep - sleeping with their fathers, etc., were in great use among them. The Hebrews probably used this form of speech to signify their belief in the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body.
It is certain that our Lord received no intimation of Lazarus's death from any person, and that he knew it through that power by which he knows all things.
Lazarus sleepeth - Is dead. The word “sleep” is applied to death,
1.Because of the resemblance between them, as sleep is the “kinsman of death.” In this sense it is often used by pagan writers.
2.However, in the Scriptures it is used to intimate that death will not be final: that there will be an awaking out of this sleep, or a resurrection. It is a beautiful and tender expression, removing all that is dreadful in death, and filling the mind with the idea of calm repose after a life of toil, with a reference to a future resurrection in increased vigor and renovated powers. In this sense it is applied in the Scriptures usually to the saints, 1 Corinthians 11:30; 1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:10; Matthew 9:24.
Anxiously they waited for a word from Jesus. As long as the spark of life was yet alive in their brother, they prayed and watched for Jesus to come. But the messenger returned without Him. Yet he brought the message, “This sickness is not unto death,” and they clung to the hope that Lazarus would live. Tenderly they tried to speak words of hope and encouragement to the almost unconscious sufferer. When Lazarus died, they were bitterly disappointed; but they felt the sustaining grace of Christ, and this kept them from reflecting any blame on the Saviour. DA 526.1
When Christ heard the message, the disciples thought He received it coldly. He did not manifest the sorrow they expected Him to show. Looking up to them, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” For two days He remained in the place where He was. This delay was a mystery to the disciples. What a comfort His presence would be to the afflicted household! they thought. His strong affection for the family at Bethany was well known to the disciples, and they were surprised that He did not respond to the sad message, “He whom Thou lovest is sick.” DA 526.2
During the two days Christ seemed to have dismissed the message from His mind; for He did not speak of Lazarus. The disciples thought of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. They had wondered why Jesus, with the power to perform wonderful miracles, had permitted John to languish in prison, and to die a violent death. Possessing such power, why did not Christ save John's life? This question had often been asked by the Pharisees, who presented it as an unanswerable argument against Christ's claim to be the Son of God. The Saviour had warned His disciples of trials, losses, and persecution. Would He forsake them in trial? Some questioned if they had mistaken His mission. All were deeply troubled. DA 526.3Read in context »
Jesus Knows Women's Burdens—He who gave back to the widow her only son as he was being carried to the burial, is touched today by the woe of the bereaved mother. He who gave back to Mary and Martha their buried brother, who wept tears of sympathy at the grave of Lazarus, who pardoned Mary Magdalene, who remembered His mother when He was hanging in agony upon the cross, who appeared to the weeping women after His resurrection, and made them His messengers to preach a risen Saviour saying, “Go tell My disciples that I go to My Father and to your Father, to My God and to your God,” is woman's best friend today and ready to aid her in her need if she will trust Him.—The Health Reformer, August, 1877. WM 156.1
Wonderful Mission of Women—Seventh-day Adventists are not in any way to belittle woman's work.—Gospel Workers, 453. WM 157.1Read in context »
The only begotten Son of God recognized the nobility of humanity by taking humanity upon Himself, and dying in behalf of humanity, testifying throughout all ages that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Letter 10, 1897). 5BC 1141.1
A Fatal Deception—True sanctification unites believers to Christ and to one another in the bonds of tender sympathy. This union causes to flow continually into the heart rich currents of Christlike love, which flows forth again in love for one another. 5BC 1141.2
The qualities which it is essential for all to possess are those which marked the completeness of Christ's character—His love, His patience, His unselfishness, and His goodness. These attributes are gained by doing kindly actions with a kindly heart.... 5BC 1141.3Read in context »
Among the most steadfast of Christ's disciples was Lazarus of Bethany. From their first meeting his faith in Christ had been strong; his love for Him was deep, and he was greatly beloved by the Saviour. It was for Lazarus that the greatest of Christ's miracles was performed. The Saviour blessed all who sought His help; He loves all the human family, but to some He is bound by peculiarly tender associations. His heart was knit by a strong bond of affection to the family at Bethany, and for one of them His most wonderful work was wrought. DA 524.1Read in context »