CHRIST SEEKS THE DEAD MAN.
Dear reader, we come to the ninth stage in the history of the man Lazarus. We saw him sick, dead, bound, entombed, and putrified, and then we first saw Christ appear on the scene and declare Himself to be the resurrection and the life. Then He inquired about the dead man, and now He is seeking for the dead man. We read in Matt. 18:11: “For the Son of Man is come to save that which was lost,” and again we read in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
No person ever came on such a mission as the one that the Son of God came on. His was purely a missionary journey, and thank God it was self-supporting, for we were unable to do what He came to do, and in this narrative we have Christ in the town of Bethany, seeking a dead Lazarus. If we will lift up our eyes and behold we will not only see Him seeking a Lazarus, but we will see Him seeking a lost world. He is seeking the sinner, the wanderer, the lost, the homeless, the friendless, the tempest-tossed, sin-sick soul. Hear His voice take courage, and rise up, for He calleth for you, and while He seeks the sinner He does many other things. He meets a blind man and says to him, Go to the pool of Siloam and wash, and he went and washed and came seeing. He met a man with a withered hand and said to him, Stretch it out, and immediately his hand was restored whole as the other. On His journey He met up with a man that was deaf and the Lord spoke to him and the sound of the voice of the Son of God entered into his head and he never had any more trouble with his hearing. Well, I say glory to God!
He met a man with the leprosy and said to him, Go shew yourself to the priest and as he went he was cleansed from his awful disease and turned back to give glory to God. He met a man with the palsy and spoke the living word to him and the man had no more trouble with his nerves all the days of his life. Hallelujah!
We next read that He met a woman that had been diseased for twelve years and she had spent all her living on the physicians and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she saw Jesus she said, If I may but touch His garments I shall be made whole, and she slipped in behind Him and touched His garments and immediately she was made whole. I tell you, old boy, a Savior who can do that is worth tying on to. Bless His dear name. Again we read that one beautiful Sabbath morning the blessed Son of God was out for a morning stroll. He went out about the sheep market and He saw a poor man on a cot, by one of the pools of Jerusalem, who had been there for thirty-eight years, Jesus looked at him and said, Arise, take up thy bed and walk and go unto thy house, and behold, the next thing we see is a man going down the streets of Jerusalem with a bed on his shoulder. Oh my, the next thing we see is those old Jews. Now just listen to them. They say to him, It is not lawful for you to carry your bed on the Sabbath day. But listen to him. He said to them, He who made me whole said to me, Take up thy bed and walk. Bless the Lord, somebody had been to town that could do something. There that poor man lay for thirty-eight years and I don’t suppose that one of those old Jews ever prayed with that poor fellow in his life, but just as soon as the blessed Son of God got him off of his bed they raised a racket with him. How much like some of the rest of us that sounds. After Jesus met us and blotted out all of our sins and called us into His blessed work and sanctified us and then healed us and put us out on the turnpike for glory; then the D. D.’s [Doctor’s of Divinity] began to wherefore and whereas, and resolve and be it known that, we do not indorse or take any part with or have anything to do with the meeting that is now being held by the said ––– . I will just leave off the name and you can put your name there and you will have the key to the gate.
But thank the Lord the blessed Christ went on down the stream of time and He met a poor woman with seven devils in her, cast them out, and left her rejoicing, and I suppose that Mary hasn’t quit rejoicing yet. Well, I can’t stand much more. I want to shout now. I know that she loved Him for we find her at the grave weeping. In His strolls through the country He met up with a few fellows fishing and He said to them, Let down your net for a draught; to their surprise they caught a boat load. Ho, man, He knows where to catch ‘em, and they always bite His hook or go into His net, one or the other. He went on out into the mountain and a great multitude came out to hear Him preach and they hung on His word until they were hungry and famishing. He blessed five barley loaves and two small fishes, and fed five thousand men besides women and children. That night He wanted to cross Galilee and the boat was gone and He did something that no other man has ever done; He went afoot, and the waves of Galilee were adamant under His feet; He did not get the soles of His sandals wet.
At another time we see Him out on Galilee and an awful storm came up. He was asleep and the disciples became much alarmed and awoke Him and said, Master, we perish. He arose and rebuked the wind and sea and they obeyed Him. Every blue breaker went back into his hole and shut his eyes and kept quiet because the Master had spoken.
When He had reached the other shore or come over to the country of the Gadarenes, He met a man with a legion of devils in him and He cast them out and the whole herd of devils ran into a herd of swine and they we choked in the sea. The last time we saw the man he was clothed and in his right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus and wanting to become an evangelist. But the Master said to him, Go back to your house and tell what great things the Lord has done for thee. He went on his journey and found a woman at Jacob’s well and told her her life’s story, an caused a great revival to break out in a city of Samaria and she found that a greater One than Jacob was there. As He journeyed on in search of those who needed help He found a man up a sycamore tree and said to him, Make haste and come down, for I must abide at your house today. The man came down, and thank the Lord he got religion between the first limb and the ground, straightened up his life, and I expect to see him in heaven. Glory to God in the highest!
Now, reader, it was this same Jesus that we have been telling you about who came to Bethany and declared Himself to be the resurrection and the life, and inquired about the man Lazarus, and He is now seeking for him. I believe He will find him in spite of that old critical Jew, and in spite of the doubts of Martha and in spite of the fact that Lazarus has been dead four days already. I believe that something will be done. I can feel the victory now and hear the roar of the battle. I am expecting an old-fashioned revival to break out and shake the whole town and put the whole pit in confusion and knock the scales off of the eyes of those old Jews and bury the doubts of Mary so deep under the hills of Bethany that she will never see them again in this world. Well, amen. Keep up your faith, the victory is ours. Christ is in town and the revival is on and the devil is almost ready to give up the fact that something will be done. A little faith in a big Jesus will bring a big blessing to the heart of any of God’s children.
Now we have come to the next stage in the history of this, the most remarkable man that is described in the New Testament or the Old either. Before we take up the next chapter I want you to see just how much ground Lazarus does cover. We first saw him a sick man; second, we saw him a dead man; third, we saw him a bound man; fourth we saw him a putrified man; sixth we saw Jesus appear on the scene; seventh, we saw Jesus, the resurrection and the life; eighth, we saw Jesus making inquiries about the dead man; ninth, we saw Jesus seeking for the dead man, and tenth, we see Jesus at the grave of the dead man weeping over him. The reader will notice that there is no hope of Lazarus in the world. If some power unknown to man doesn’t enter into him he will stay there in that tomb forever and ever, for he is beyond turning a new leaf, and he is beyond new resolutions and he is beyond human enthusiasm, for he is dead and putrified and in the tomb and the tomb is sealed up. Without a doubt, he is a dead man, but thank God there is hope, for Christ is in town.