Summary: As I finish the series on the resurrections that took place before Jesus resurrected we find the wonderful story of when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
THE RESURRECTIONS BEFORE THE RESURRECTION (part five)
1) "The one whom you love is sick." (1-16)
"Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
They didn't outright ask for Jesus to come and heal their brother. The telegram didn't need to. "The one you love is sick" is all they felt they needed to say in order to provoke Jesus to respond favorably. Same with us. If we are told of a stranger's sickness we can feel empathy and be moved to prayer but when told that someone very close to us is sick our natural inclination will be to do more than just pray.
"When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days."
So Jesus gets this word that his close friend is very sick and instead of leaving to go to him he stays put for two whole days? That doesn't make any sense. It would be like your best friend's sister calling you saying, "He could go any time and he's asking to see you." And you respond with, "Gee, I don't know; I just got out of church and I've got a lot going on. How about Friday? Do you think he can hold on until then?" you wouldn't say that; it would be cold and heartless.
So why does Jesus do that? For God's glory and so Jesus could be glorified. How so? We'll be finding out. So it's obvious that his lack of immediate action wasn't because of a lack of care. How many times have we felt like God didn't care because he didn't act immediately? "
"Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”
His disciples thought it was suicide to go back to the place where he almost died previously. What was Jesus saying in his response? It's understood that he was saying that it was still daylight, meaning his work was not yet done and that it would keep going until the 'night' arrived.
It makes me think of what Jesus said at his arrest, "This is your hour; when darkness reigns". He would continue to do what he needed to do until the daylight hours were over. We need to be like that. We're working for the Lord and time is getting shorter as each day passes. So, regardless of the risks involved, we need to stay busy doing what he has called us to do, "while it is still called, 'today'".
"After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Just a few minutes ago Jesus said this sickness will not end in death but here he says that Lazarus is dead. Which is it? Both. How? You'll see.
"Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Thomas makes a noble statement. He figures if Jesus is heading back into hostile territory where he could die, he didn't want him to go it alone.
2) "Your brother will rise again." (17-37)
"On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”