Well we are now at the half way point in John’s gospel, with 10 chapters behind and 10 ahead. But surprisingly, there is only a week of Jesus’ life on earth left. It goes to show the importance and significance of the coming week.
This chapter deals mainly with the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. It often seems a puzzle why Jesus did not go to Lazarus when his sisters Mary and Martha sent for him (v3). Lazarus was very ill. Jesus knew the family well and had stayed with them often, when in Jerusalem. At the time Jesus was only a day’s journey from Bethany, but he chose to wait an extra 2 days (v6). Jesus gives the explanation in v4 ‘this sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God.’
How do you feel about that?
Jesus could have saved Mary and Martha from so much pain and sadness. He could have just gone when asked and healed Lazarus. Yes, sure it was a greater miracle to raise him from the dead, but at what cost? ‘Doesn’t He know what we are going through?’ The sisters would have had every right to be angry with Jesus, and judging from v21 and 32, perhaps they were.
The truth is that we don’t always know why God allows difficult things to happen, but happen they do.
There are times when we can only say ‘God I don’t understand this, but I choose to trust you, that you will bring good out of this, that you will work in my life through it. And even if I never understand, I believe that you are good and that you are for me’.
Jesus shows his full range of emotion in this story. He feels what we feel. The shortest verse in the Bible is v35: ‘Jesus wept’
One of the great ‘I am’ statements occurs in v25 ‘I am the resurrection and the life’. No other prophet or religious leader in history claims to have power over death. It totally sets Jesus apart. Only the author of life itself could have that power. And He is willing to give eternal life to all who believe in and follow Him (v26).
The story we know ends with Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and is a foreshadowing of His own death and resurrection in the coming chapters.