Today we discuss John 11:1-16, yesterday we saw how we need to believe the works of Jesus if we won’t believe his words.
11 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill.3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Going into this passage I have in mind the blind man… the one who was blind so that God’s glory may be seen? And I’m remembering the relationship that Jesus had Mary and Martha. Jesus, Mary, Martha and Lazarus were good friends. Mary had anointed Jesus with perfume wiping it over his feet with her hair. So when Lazarus grew ill, it was only natural for them to send, letting him know that someone he loved was very ill.
You might think that Jesus would rush to his side but instead he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Hmm… another incidence with God’s glory at the centre. Does that right there make you think something interesting is going to happen? We’ve seen the evidence of it before… a blind man seeing. And now we are faced with a very sick man and Jesus isn’t worried, he merely states two things.
- This illness won’t lead to death and
- It is for God’s glory (and the Son of God will be glorified through it)
Remember, this was a family that he loved, but he didn’t rush over, he stayed two days longer, and then he made plans to go to Judea where Mary and Martha live with sick brother Lazarus.
The disciples worried though. Jesus had just come from Judea where people were wanting to stone him. Surely it was too early to head back that way! Jesus didn’t seem worried though… He was heading there to wake Lazarus up. He also added these verses that I am just not sure what to do with in light of this passage: “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” What does the threat of being stoned have to do with light and dark? Of knowing the way or stumbling? I know that Jesus was sure of his actions… and right now the action he needed to take was to go to Lazarus and wake him up. I don’t know that I have it, I’m feeling a bit fuzzy headed at the moment, so feel free to help me understand it better eh?
The disciples didn’t get it. Lord, come on, if he’s fallen asleep he’ll be fine, was their attitude. Jesus, therefore, made it very clear to them “Lazarus has died“.
He added that he was glad for them, for their sake that he did not go to Lazarus earlier. He goal: to help them believe. I loved Thomas’ response “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Can you imagine that? Someone thinking that going somewhere will be the death of you and they are willing to go and die with you? Would you be able to say that? To willingly be able to go to your death if Jesus said “We’re going here” (a spot where death to Christians is conceivable). I’d find that hard… and yet Thomas (at this stage in their discipleship) was willing to do so. Not only that, he encouraged others to do so as well.