Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”  The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?”  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.  But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”  After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.”  The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”  Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep.  Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died,  and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”  So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
(John 11:7-16 ESV)
This blog may be a bit different from blogs in the past from me. It is going to be a bit more…lets say: meaty?! So, if you could bear with me, I promise it will be worth it. We will basically be going verse by verse, talking about this story. A story I am sure you all have heard a million times, or at least are familiar with.
Verse 7; Jesus just gets finished talking with the disciples and telling them that his (and assumed) their good friend, Lazarus is in bad health. They have been antsy in their pants to get back to Lazarus (we learn later).
When the disciples hear his crazy plan they immediately remind him “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” (v. 8 ) – basically they call Jesus crazy, and are just making sure that he remembers their impending doom that is waiting for them.
Then, Jesus being Jesus, answers their question with an answer that doesn’t make any sense right then. “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. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” (v. 9&10) Now, could you imagine the disciples right now, all looking at each other and thinking to themselves “are you serious?!…is he really doing this again?!” and “what in the world does this have to do with anything we asked!?”. But Jesus being…well….Jesus knows their thoughts and confusion, begins to explain the situation.
“After saying these things, he said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.'”(v.11) Now, I can imagine this point in time where Jesus tries to explain this to his disciples, I can imagine some sarcasm in his tone, and maybe some slight head shaking…maybe some *tisks*. You would think that his disciples would understand by now…but what fun would that be?
The disciples being the bone-headed sinners that they are (perfect mirror of us) simply make the statement “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” (v. 12) Can you imagine them? “Uhhmm…Jesus, if he is asleep, will he not wake up?!” – duurrr! But this is not what Jesus was saying at all. He was making the point that Lazarus has passed away, and he must be awakened by the words of truth and life, Jesus.
Now, I can imagine the look on Jesus’ face right now. Maybe a little slap to the forehead, and a prayer to God “…These guys? Of all people, father…these guys!?!” – But he being the patient teacher and lover that he is, says plainly “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” (v. 14&15) Now, we must remember that these disciples where good friends with Lazarus…so the emotions that must have overflowed thru them had to be crazy. Confusion, doubt, questioning, betrayal, lost-hope, and many others…things that we as believers feel quite often. At this point I can imagine that the disciples have lost all hope for Lazarus. We can see this from the very last verse in this passage.
“So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.'” (v. 17) I can imagine him being the voice of the disciples, the one with a shaky, all hope seems lost…we might as well die now, because our good friend is dead. OUR GOOD FRIEND WHO WE TRUSTED IN YOU TO HEAL (imagine me yelling this) IS DEAD, GOD! WHY!!!! The confusing, the betrayal, the total doubt and depression. But Jesus answered this question even before this statement was made – He said a couple verses before “…for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe.” (v.15)
How typical would it be for Jesus to come into the town, and just heal Lazarus. Nothing special would have happened. After all, how many hundreds (if not thousands) of people has Jesus healed…but how many has Jesus called out from the dead? (at this point, none.) Jesus knew that the disciples needed something more solid, something more chunky. Something to seal the deal, something to show them that NOTHING is out of his reach/healing. Not even death.
Now, I did not go into the actual resurrection of Lazarus, due to the fact that so many of us already know the story of how Jesus does it…so magical, so mystical, so…God like. I didn’t want to concentrate on that, I wanted to concentrate on the PERFECT TIMING of Jesus/God. Jesus says that everything that he does is in perfect time. There is meaning and purpose behind EVERYTHING, even death. Even depression, even doubt, even seasons of silence, even your pet animal dying, even your computer breaking down, even your car getting totaled. EVERYTHING is seen by God, and EVERYTHING is known by him. You are not alone, you are not by yourself. Jesus is with you, and is waiting for the perfect time to speak live to you. Lean on him, trust in his every word, and his understanding. He loves you, he wants you to be with him…he wants you most of all to be with him. To know him, to walk with him, and be loved on by him.
I am not sure where you are when you read this, both in location, and spiritually. I do know, however that you have read this far for some reason. Weather it is from pure boredom, or the fact that you wanted to see if I actually make a point out of all this. What I want to make sure you understand is this: Your situation is never out of Jesus’ reach. Not even death. For those who love the Lord, and call upon his name…will be saved. If you are reading this today/tonight/this morning and you have something going on, weather it is a death of a loved one, bad news about your health, or an unexpected bill that has come. Jesus knows your problems and issues. I am not promising a quick and easy fix to anything, after all bad things happen. But what I can promise, is that Jesus loves you. And wants you…tonight, just how you are…broken, doubting, depressed, sad, or even happy and joyful. He wants you. Will you call on his name? Will you seek his healing word? His life-giving word?