On God and Raising People from the Dead

Here are some notes from a sermon recently given on Resurrection Related thoughts..

When the Lord raised people from the dead it was a powerful and wonderful time in the life of those around them.

1. An Old Testament Example:1 Kings 17:15 – 24[ Elijah Raises the Widow’s Son ] “Now it came about after these things that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became sick; and his sickness was so severe that there was no breath left in him.”

  • Verses 15 – 17 – A steady flow of provision from the Lord for her household.
  • Verse 18 – the woman was upset – Elijah did not put her son to death.
  • Verse 20 – God did not put the son to death.
  • But alas verses 22, 23 – The Lord heard and the life of the child returned and he revived.
  • Verse 24 – Do you hear relief in the mother’s words?
  • What a joyful reunion. I can only imagine the grief that mother had over the loss of her son. The Lord did a wonderful miracle in that family!

2. Lazarus’ Raised – New Testament John 12:17-18 – Lazarus “So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him.”

  • The raising of Lazarus from the dead was an incredible sign that drew many people to believe in, follow and testify about Jesus.
  • It was also an incredibly personal thing. Jesus’ raised His friend, Lazarus from the dead! Plus Mary and Martha who had been overcome with grief were now full of awe and delight at having their brother back with them. Now Lazarus could tell them about what it was like in heaven, what he saw, felt and experienced. Plus now he would outlive Jesus and would again be given an abundant entrance when it was his time to breathe his last and return to eternity.
  • If this had been your brother or friend who was raised back to life wouldn’t you be excited too?
  • The raising of Lazarus from the dead also made the religious leaders very jealous and uncertain about their own authority and influence with their own people and the Roman governor.

3.  Aftermath of Jesus’ Resurrection: Matt 27: 50-53 -“50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.”

  • Where Jesus was there was the awesome outward power of God. The earth was quaking in its reaction that the Son of God had redeemed mankind.
  • Notice that the verse says that they came out of the tombs after Jesus was resurrected. We do not know if these saints had recently died or whether they had died weeks, months or years earlier, but it sounds like people recognized them. The raw resurrection power of God was so strong that this added blessing took place for those saints, their families and friends. What a surprise that must have been for all involved when their dead relative knocked on the door and said “I’m back!” What stories they must have told. Something like, ‘I was dancing before the presence of God when all of a sudden, I felt myself traveling through space and there I was in my old body. Interestingly, we were not told the names of the saints who were raised.

4.  Raising from the dead in the Book Of Acts: Acts 9: 36-41

  • Tabitha/Dorcas “36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. 37 And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, “Do not delay in coming to us.” 39 So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.”
  • Peter did not have much time to plan for this happening. He was nearby and just came when asked. This lady, Dorcas was a much loved woman of God in the church. I can only imagine their grief at losing her. She sounds like “everyone’s grandmother”.
  • What sadness had overcome the saints at her passing, but what utter surprise and gladness they must have felt when she was presented alive. Praise God!
  • Every time someone was raised from the dead it brought great joy and delight to those who loved that person so much!
  • Eutychus – Acts 20: 9 – 12 – “9 And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, “Do not be troubled, for his life is in him.” 11 When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. 12 They took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted.
  • Another tragic situation, a sudden death, a faith filled Paul, a miracle that took place, a relieved family at seeing their beloved Eutychus alive again!
  • Wouldn’t you be glad if it was your son or brother who was raised?

5. Paul helps us understand the raising of the dead:

a. Ephesians 2: 4 – 7We were raised, with Jesus

  • It’s all about grace!
  • He raised us up with Him,
  • He seated us with Jesus in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
  • He lavishes His grace on us now and in the life everlasting.
  • It was all by His grace, not because of anything we did to earn salvation. God did it all out of His kindness!

 b. Colossians 3:1 If you have been raised, then keep seeking

  • [ Put On the New Self ] Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
  • We are new creatures in Christ. We have died and are now alive because Jesus is living His life in and through us!  We have been raised up with Christ. In Christ is fullness of life, fullness of joy, fullness of peace, fullness of forgiveness, fullness of wisdom, etc and etc. Let His fullness fill you to overflowing. Keep seeking more and more, to be closer and closer!

Takeaways:

  • The Lord brought blessing and encouragement to the people in these Old Testament (widow’s son) & New Testament (Lazarus, dead after Jesus was raised, Dorcas, Eutychus) examples of loved ones raised from death to life. What a wonderful blessing!
  • If we believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, confess & repent of our sins, then the Lord changes us and raises us up to be new creatures. He lavishes on us blessings from now to eternity as we are His children!
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