Lazarus Dies

(John 11:5-16)

In my last post we looked at what Jesus did and said when a messenger came to Him saying that Lazarus was ill. We see in this section of scripture that Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus so it is certain that they were good friends and Jesus would help His friends just as anyone else helps their friends.

Lazarus dies...but not for long!

In the last section we saw that Jesus said that this illness Lazarus had contracted was not to the death but would be used to manifest the glory of God.

Once again we see that even though we know these things, Jesus' reaction was quite unusual.

The death of Lazarus

When Jesus heard of the illness that Lazarus was suffering from, and knowing that they were great friends, you might expect that Jesus would drop everything and go to his friends bedside. Given that Jesus also had the power to heal people of illnesses it would seem even more appropriate for Him to go to Lazarus as quickly as he could.

However the scripture here tells us,

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.”

Jesus did not immediately drop what He was doing and rush to the aid of Lazarus. Instead He stayed where he was for two more days and waited before announcing to the disciples that they were going back into Judea.

The disciples questioned the wisdom of doing this. “The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” (Verse 8) They believed it would be dangerous to go back for the rulers of the Jews were seeking to put Jesus to death. But He responded in verses 9 and 10,

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.”

Night and Day

This is an interesting analogy that Jesus puts in here. The disciples were afraid of what the Jews might do to Jesus when they went back and if they caught Him. But Jesus was not afraid for He knew what would happen and understood the purpose of all that was going on.

In many places the bible uses night and day, light and darkness as metaphors for good and evil. There are several messages in this section, but one that stands out for me is that those who walk in the light and who do what is right and are following the path of The Lord will not fall. They will not stumble for they will be upheld by the arm of God.

Those who choose to follow evil paths will fall and stumble and be hurt because like a person wandering around in the dark, they cannot see where they are going.

So in the context of this scripture Jesus seems to be telling his disciples not to worry about going back into Judea for they were walking in the light. They were following the good paths and the way of God. They had no need to fear for God was on their side, and as The writer of Hebrews wrote some years later, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

Jesus Explains

Jesus then told his disciples thatLazarus had fallen asleep and He was going to awaken him. But the disciples did not understand for they thought that surely Lazarus would wake up when he finished his rest. Then Jesus explained in terms they would finally understand.

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.”

At last they understood. Lazarus was dead. But the explanation still must have puzzled them for Lazarus was supposed to be Jesus' friend, so it must have sounded strange that he said he was glad he was not there before he passed away. They were unaware of the miracle that was about to occur that would resound down to this day and age.

Despite His assurances and the words that should have encouraged the disciples, they still did not fully believe for it says, “So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” They were prepared to stand by The Lord in the face of possible doom, but did not believe that they would be OK.

In the next post we will see them amazed at the outcome and all that transpired.


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