Lesson 55: John 11:20-29 – Jesus Is Coming!

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

You're listening to Lesson 55 from the sermon series "The Gospel of John" by Pastor Ricky Kurth. When you're done, explore more sermons from this series.



If Lazarus is a type of Israel, and his resurrection is a type of Israel’s future resurrection, who do Martha and Mary represent? Well, you’ll notice that neither one seems to be married; they live with their brother, and no husbands are mentioned. Since both seem godly, that would make them virgins, similar to the 10 virgins in Matthew 25. When Martha went out to meet the Lord (Jo.11:19), it was similar to when the ten virgins went out to meet Him (Mt.25:1,6).

There were ten virgins marrying one groom because they represent Israel, who will someday marry the Lord (Rev.19:7-9)—that’s why Matthew 25 calls Him the bridegroom. Spiritual virgins (Rev.14:4) who have not been defiled with the harlot of Babylon, the church of the Antichrist (Rev.17:1-5), will be eligible for this marriage.

But the parable of the ten virgins teaches us that it is not enough to not be involved with the Antichrist, you must also have “oil,” a type of the Spirit (ISam.16:13). He came at Pentecost and filled those saints, and He will fill the Tribulation saints as well. Then, like Martha, those virgins will go out to meet the Lord.

Where did she go meet Him? She lived in Bethany (John 11:1), which is where the Lord was coming to raise Lazarus (11:17-19). So when Martha went out to meet Him, He was on His way to Bethany, a type of how He’ll come back to Bethany at His 2nd Coming. Remember, He ascended from Bethany (Lu.24:50,51) and will return the same way (Acts 1:11). His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives (Zec.14:4) a short distance away, and they’ll go meet Him.

Martha heard the Lord was coming, but how will the Jews hear the Lord is coming? John the Baptist announced His first coming, calling Him the Bridegroom (John 3:28-31). Elijah the prophet, a man like John (Luke 1:13-17), will announce the Lord’s 2nd Coming (Mal.4:5) to people prepared of the Lord with the oil of the Spirit, who like Martha will go out to meet Him. Mary is “still” (John 11:20), a picture of death (Job 3:11-13), so she is a type of kingdom saints who will die before the Lord comes, unable to go out to meet the Lord till He calls her, as he does later.

Martha is not complaining (John 11:21) as some suggest. She knew the Lord couldn’t have been there to save Lazarus since he died before He heard about it. The spiritual virgins she represents won’t complain when the Lord comes, they’ll express the faith she expressed (v.22) that He can raise Israel from the spiritual death they’ve been in for 2,000 years. He’ll have to ask His Father for this, just as He asked Him for the Gentiles (v.22 cf. Ps. 2:7,8). In that day, Israel will “arise” (Isa.60:1-3) and shake off the dust of 2,000 years of virtual death (Isa.52:1,2). Of course if, as many say, God gave Israel’s blessings to us, He’ll have some explaining to do to Israel in that day!

When the Lord told Martha her brother would rise again (John 11:23), she knew this from Scripture (Ps.49:14,15; Dan.12:2). The saints who die before He comes will need Him to be “the resurrection” (John 11:25), but those who live to see Him come will need Him to be “the life.” It could be said of the believing Jew who might die: “yet shall he live.” But it is also true that “whosoever liveth” to see the Lord come “shall never die,” but will be infused with new life that is incapable of dying again, and enter the kingdom. This is one of several times in John that He claimed to be the “I am” of Exodus 3:14. Jews had to be-lieve that’s who He was, and Martha did (John 11:26,27).

If Martha represents those who live to see the Lord come, and Mary represents those who die before He comes, why is Martha calling Mary (v.28)? This is a picture of Ezekiel 37:1-11. By the way, notice that she calls the Lord “Mas-ter.” That’s what believers called Him (John 13:13). No one ever called Him “Jesus” to His face (John 20:16).

Since Mary represents the Jews who will rise from the dead, she comes to the Lord as soon as she is called (v.29 cf. 5:28,29). How about you? When sin causes your Christian experience to die (Ro.8:13), and the Lord calls you to awake to righteousness (ICor.15:34 cf. Eph.5:14) do you answer as soon as He calls?

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