Summary of passage: Mary’s brother, Lazarus, was sick. Mary had previously washed Jesus’ feet with perfume. She sent word to Jesus who knew God’s plan. He waited 2 days for Lazarus to die and then he returns to Bethany (just outside Jerusalem and remember Jesus is somewhere on the other side of the Jordan River) despite the disciples’ protests.
3a) He knew God’s plan to raise Lazarus from the dead. God alone can raise the dead and this event will help initiate events that will lead to the cross–God’s ultimate plan and glory.
b) Personal Question. My answer: To draw us closer to Him, rely on Him, and follow Him.
4a) To let Lazarus die so that when he returns and raises Lazarus there will be no doubting God’s glory.
b) Personal Question. My answer: It’s all in God’s timing and what’s right for us and Him.
5) Part personal Question. My answer: Those who walk with Jesus should have no fear. Those who walk in darkness stumble and should have fear.
Conclusions: I love how Jesus waits for Lazarus to die–waits on God’s timing. Great lesson for us. Patience is something many of us lack or need more of and this is a classic example of how good things come to those who wait. Rely on God and His timing, not ours.
End Notes: You could say Jesus saved the best miracle for last. Here we have the 7th sign in John’s Gospel and it’s Jesus raising a man from the dead who had been dead for 4 days and whose body had begun to rot. This puts Lazarus at having died shortly after the messengers left Bethany (1 day for travel, 2 days Jesus waited, 1 day to travel back).
Lazarus is the Greek form of “Eleazar” or God is my help.
John is the only one to record this miracle–the most astounding of all. Why? Some conjecture the other 3 Gospels were written while Lazarus was still alive and they didn’t want to offend anyone. Some say it’s because Peter was not present with the Lord. He was in Galilee preaching. The other 3 Gospels may be based on Peter’s account of the Lord.
Note the women did not ask for a miracle from Jesus. Just telling Jesus Lazarus was sick was enough. They knew if Jesus could heal him, he would. They had faith.
By the time Jesus got the message Lazarus was sick, he was already dead. He knew this. He also knew upon healing Lazarus, he’d set the course for his last days–the ultimate glory of God.
Note how Jesus loves all individually-Martha and Mary and Lazarus–as He does us.
He stayed two days deliberately until the fourth day. This must have been agony for Martha and Mary but their faith did not waver. This was bringing greater glory to God and shows us it’s in God’s timing, not ours.
Jesus could have healed Lazarus from afar. Despite the dangers, he goes to Judea. But Jesus still has work to do given to him by God. There is enough time for us to do God’s purpose so don’t waste it! No harm will come to them during this time.
Sleep is a metaphor for death.
Jesus is glad for many reasons: grief was comforted, life was restored, many more believed, and the necessary death of Jesus was set in motion–not to mention his friend would live!
God often permits us to pass into profounder darkness, and deeper mysteries of pain, in order that we may prove more perfectly His power.
Remember Jesus was on the other side of the Jordan River. He no heads back to Judea and Bethany to heal Lazarus.
All Jews in those days had two names – one a Hebrew name by which a man was known in his own circle, the other a Greek name by which he was known in a wider circle. Thomas is the Hebrew and Didymus, which is Greek for twin. Thomas apparently looked like Jesus and hence his nickname. Despite the risks, Thomas encourages the other disciples to accompany Jesus. He may not understand the resurrection yet, but he knows Jesus enough to die for him.