|John 11 The Passion Translation|
In the village of Bethany there was a man named Lazarus, and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary was the one who would anoint Jesus’ feet with costly perfume and dry his feet with her long hair. One day Lazarus became very sick to the point of death. So his sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, our brother Lazarus, the one you love, is very sick. Please come!”
When he heard this, he said, “This sickness will not end in death for Lazarus, but will bring glory and praise to God. This will reveal the greatness (glory) of the Son of God by what takes place.”
Now even though Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, he remained where he was for two more days. Finally, on the third day, he said to his disciples, “Come. It’s time to go to Bethany.”
“But Teacher,” they said to him, “do you really want to go back there? It was just a short time ago the people of Judea were going to stone you!”
Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight in every day? You can go through a day without the fear of stumbling when you walk in the One who gives light to the world. But you will stumble when the light is not in you, for you’ll be walking in the dark.”Then Jesus added, “Lazarus, our friend, has just fallen asleep. It’s time that I go and awaken him.”
When they heard this, the disciples replied, “Lord, if he has just fallen asleep, then he’ll get better.” 13 Jesus was speaking about Lazarus’ death, but the disciples presumed he was talking about natural sleep.
Then Jesus made it plain to them, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sake, I’m glad I wasn’t there, because now you have another opportunity to see who I am so that you will learn to trust in me. Come, let’s go and see him.” So Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, remarked to the other disciples, “Let’s go so that we can die with him.”
Now when they arrived at Bethany, which was only about two miles from Jerusalem, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Many friends of Mary and Martha had come from the region to console them over the loss of their brother. And when Martha heard that Jesus was approaching the village, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “My Lord, if only you had come sooner, my brother wouldn’t have died. But I know that if you were to ask God for anything, he would do it for you.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise and live.”
She replied, “Yes, I know he will rise with everyone else on resurrection day.”
“Martha,” Jesus said, “You don’t have to wait until then. I am the Resurrection, and I am Life Eternal. Anyone who clings to me in faith, even though he dies, will live forever. And the one who lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Then Martha replied, “Yes, Lord, I do! I’ve always believed that you are the Anointed One, the Son of God who has come into the world for us!” Then she left and hurried off to her sister, Mary, and called her aside from all the mourners and whispered to her, “The Master is here and he’s asking for you.”
So when Mary heard this, she quickly went off to find him, for Jesus was lingering outside the village at the same spot where Martha met him. Now when Mary’s friends who were comforting her noticed how quickly she ran out of the house, they followed her, assuming she was going to the tomb of her brother to mourn.
When Mary finally found Jesus outside the village, she fell at his feet in tears and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus looked at Mary and saw her weeping at his feet, and all her friends who were with her grieving, he shuddered with emotion and was deeply moved with tenderness and compassion. He said to them, “Where did you bury him?”
“Lord, come with us and we’ll show you,” they replied.
Then tears streamed down Jesus’ face.
Seeing Jesus weep caused many of the mourners to say, “Look how much he loved Lazarus.” Yet others said, “Isn’t this the One who opens blind eyes? Why didn’t he do something to keep Lazarus from dying?” Then Jesus, with intense emotions, came to the tomb—a cave with a stone placed over its entrance. 39 Jesus told them, “Roll away the stone.”
Then Martha said, “But Lord, it’s been four days since he died—by now his body is already decomposing!” Jesus looked at her and said, “Didn’t I tell you that if you will believe in me, you will see God unveil his power?”
So they rolled away the heavy stone. Jesus gazed into heaven and said, “Father, thank you that you have heard my prayer, 42 for you listen to every word I speak. Now, so that these who stand here with me will believe that you have sent me to the earth as your messenger, I will use the power you have given me.” Then with a loud voice Jesus shouted with authority:“Lazarus! Come out of the tomb!”Then in front of everyone, Lazarus, who had died four days earlier, slowly hobbled out—he still had grave clothes tightly wrapped around his hands and feet. Jesus told them “unwrap him and let him loose.”
This event in the life of Jesus is so pertinent to these days we are in. Notice that when news reached Jesus concerning his friend Lazarus that was sick he was already dead. Jesus waited purposely for a few more days until He returns to Bethany. His disciples are beside themselves that He would do so because they had just left that area because the religious leaders had sought to kill Him and why go if Lazarus is dead anyway? But Jesus insists that He is going so the disciples agree to go and die with Him.
This story is about fear, disappointment, and misunderstanding.
Martha and Mary along with every one of his disciples know that Jesus can heal and raise people from the dead because if they were not there when He healed or raised folks from the dead they certainly had heard about it. They all believe in the future resurrection.
First, we see high hope and expectation that Jesus will come and heal Lazarus by his sisters but instead, Jesus does not come and he dies.
Second, we see fear as the disciples understand that even though they are going back to Bethany Lazarus is dead and surely Jesus will be killed also. y Third, we see grief and disappointment on the part of Mary and Martha because surely Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had come when He was “suppose to come right away.”
None of them could see past the circumstance that Lazarus is lying stinking in the tomb. All their hopes were gone. Their faith in Him wavered and doubt came in. It did not happen the way they thought it would. It did not go down the way they believed it would. In their minds, Jesus let them down.
Jesus is troubled in His Spirit and begins to weep. He cries because of their lack of faith in who He is. They are misunderstanding who He is! He not only heals and raises people from the dead but He is the Healer and the Resurrection.
Notice that He asks them to show Him where they had buried Lazarus. He asks them to take Him to the place where they lost their faith and began to doubt. They take Him to the tomb and He calls Lazarus forth and removes his grave clothes which bound him. He releases him from the bondage of death and the grave.
Jesus is calling His people to take Him to the place where they lost their faith in Him, the place where doubt was planted. He is calling His church to give Him their fear, their doubt, their disappointment, and misunderstanding and allow Him to resurrect (revive)their trust in Him. He is reminding all of us that He is faithful to His promises and He will not let us down.