November 18, 2020 – Wednesday
John 11:14-15 NIV
14 So then He told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,
15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Jesus’ comments above followed this exchange between Him and His disciples (v11-13), “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. That is why He spoke plainly or bluntly that Lazarus was dead not sleeping. But (v16), Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” The reason for Thomas’ comment was (according to Pett), The disciples were aware of the dangers threatening Jesus in Judea, and we learn that Thomas was full of foreboding, as indeed they all were, and now said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go that we may die with Him’. As ever he could only see the dark side, but this did not prevent him from being faithful. He would not desert Jesus however bad the situation looked. Perhaps his intervention indicates that Peter, who would normally have taken the lead under such circumstances, was not with them at this point. This would help to explain why the story is not recorded in the other Gospels (Peter was a main source of the synoptic material). Going to Lazarus was to put Jesus Himself in direct danger and indirectly His disciples as well which Thomas clearly understood.
We find a few verses later Jesus had arrived in Bethany, only a few miles from Jerusalem, and met Martha and Mary, both sisters of Lazarus. Jesus is speaking with Martha, they had the following exchange,
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Martha does not know Jesus is preparing her for the amazing miracle of commanding her brother back to life which we will discuss tomorrow. But key for her and for us is Jesus statement and question for her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” Her answer showed her faith and belief.
Lazarus has already been in the tomb for four (!) days and yet He said to His disciples, 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. Jesus had purposely delayed His return to Bethany so His disciples would believe when He raised Lazarus from the dead. It is one of the most amazing miracles in the Bible. So, amazing the Pharisees would eventually want Lazarus dead so this miracle could be denied. Gratefully we know the truth and the Pharisees were unsuccessful in seeking Lazarus death.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Will we believe? Who will believe? What will it take to believe? When Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead we will find even more reason to believe. But the greatest reason is the man, Jesus, who could raise the dead chose to suffer His Father’s wrath on the cross for all of our sins so that we could know God’s wonderful mercy and salvation. – In Jesus name. Amen.