About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Death Of Lazarus (ch.11:1-16)
here on out in the Gospel of John we are drawing near to the end of the
earthly ministry and life of Jesus. The
Feast of Dedication that has just passed was about three and a half months
from the spring of the following year when Jesus would die on the cross.
1 tells us that Lazarus was very sick, so sick that he was about to die.
So, in verse 3, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus.
The messenger told Jesus that "the one He loved is sick."
Again, we see here that Jesus loved Lazarus.
I'm sure that Jesus loves everyone, but there seems to be a special
bond between Jesus and Lazarus.
also that in verse 5 John specifically said that Jesus loved both Mary and
in verse 3 the word "love", as in, Jesus loved Lazarus, is
translated from the Greek word "phileo", meaning, brotherly
love. Two things we learn
here. You might say that Jesus
loved Lazarus as a brother. That
being said, I point out the use of "phileo" here, and not
"agape" that means selfless love," to demonstrate that the
New Testament often uses these two Greek words interchangeably.
that we should note is that by Jewish law whenever there was a special
verse 4 Jesus responds by saying that this sickness is not going to end in
death, but "it is for Godís glory, so Godís Son may be
glorified." We note here
that both God and Jesus will be glorified by the miracle that will soon
take place. Weíve seen this
before. God is interested in
glorifying Jesus and Jesus is interested in glorifying God.
should also note that Jesus said that this sickness would not end in
death. Well in once sense of
the word it did. Lazarus did
die, but Jesus would raise him from the dead, signifying that death means
nothing to Jesus. Jesus could
have healed Lazarus before he died but He didnít because whether Lazarus
died or remained alive, it meant nothing to Jesus.
To prove this John tells us that when Jesus heard of Lazarusí
sickness He did not rush to help him.
Jesus remained where He was for another two days which was long
enough for Lazarus to die and be buried.
verse 6 we note that after two
why Jesus didn't rush to Lazarus' side might be a bit debatable.
There are two obvious reasons why Jesus delayed heading to
7 tells us that Jesus told His disciples that they would now head back to
verse 9 Jesus answered by saying, "Are there not twelve hours in the
day Ö" The reference to
twelve hours shows us that Jesus is thinking of the Jewish day Ė
basically twelve hours of sun and twelve hours of darkness.
The Jewish day revolved around sunrise and sunset.
The day ended at sunset and a new day began.
The Roman days were like our days, beginning at midnight and not
sunset. Of course, the reality
of the situation is that there are only two days out of the year where
there is a balance between dark and light.
Jesus was speaking figuratively here.
then says that men can walk without stumbling in the day, but when the
night comes it is harder to walk and thus people stumble in the darkness.
believe Jesus is using the twelve hours of light and day, which by the
way, was that time of year that we see here, to make a deeper point.
I think He was telling His disciples that we need to go now since
it is light, but, I think He had something else in mind.
He is the light of the world, and, since He was that light, He had
to do certain things. The night would come when some things would not be
done with such ease.
verse 11 Jesus then tells His disciples that Lazarus is asleep and that He
needs to go and wake him up. Jesus
doesnít differentiate between sleeping and being dead in this instance,
and why should He. Thereís
no real difference to Him between death and sleep.
verse 12 the disciples took Jesusí words literally and could not figure
out what the rush was if Lazarus was only sleeping.
This tells us something about Biblical interpretation.
We should be careful how we interpret Jesus and make sure that we
don't take Him literally when He does not want us to take Him literally.
verse 14 Jesus plainly tells His disciples that Lazarus is dead, and for
that He was glad. Why would
Jesus be glad that Lazarus died? Jesus
was about to raise Lazarus from the dead.
His disciples would see this great miracle and would believe.
It is not that the disciples did not already believe.
This miracle would strengthen their trust in Jesus.
is interesting to me that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead just before
He died and would be raised from the dead Himself.
This might well be a signal of His own resurrection that was not
section ends in verse 16 by Thomas telling the other disciples, "Let
us also go that we may die with Him."
There is some pessimism and defeatism in Thomasís words, or so I
think. The disciples did not
want to see Jesus go back to