I remember getting the news that my grandfather had passed away. I was in third grade and my brothers and I had stayed the night at my aunt and uncle’s house. I remember gathering together in the back room. My mom and dad were very sad. We knew my grandfather had been very sick. I knew too even at that age that he was dying. I don’t remember much about how I felt at that particular moment towards God but I as I got older could remember feeling loss with others close to me and expressing to God my sadness. I can never imagine my life without my wife and yet I know unless Christ returns one of us will probably be left behind. We as human beings cannot run from sickness, disarray, and we all will face death unless Jesus returns first. Has Jesus ever had to deal with loss the way we do? That’s a thought I have asked God in my mind before. “God you know how it feels to lose your son. Why then!” Why does it happen still on this place you have us dwell on called Earth. There is no easy answer to that question but I believe as we continue in John this morning, we have answers!
News has just come to Jesus. His good friend is very ill. The message from Mary and Martha did not state Jesus should drop what he was doing and come to them, though this was the letter’s purpose. Jesus knows there is great hostility in Jerusalem and it would not be a good thing to try and return there after just escaping a stoning. Martha and Mary knew this too and felt Lazarus; their brother’s condition was bad enough to warrant his return. Mary and Martha saw what Jesus did in healing the blind man; they saw how he made the lame walk. They knew if they could just get Jesus back that Lazarus would be well again.
Jesus was Lazarus’s friend. There is strong evidence that Jesus went to his home often. The women kept telling Jesus “if only you would have done what we were hoping for Jesus”! “You could have helped!” What we find out is yes Jesus could have helped. But if he would have went back early then what. We had said Jesus was good friends with Lazarus. I don’t know this for sure but just imagine if Jesus would have gone back. He would have received the news that Lazarus was ill probably at the same time Lazarus died. The messenger was as fast as an aol instant message or a text message some use today on cell phones. It would have taken some time. The fact that he was two days away shows this to be true.
So if Jesus would have came right then when they told him he would have returned about 2 days after his death. I believe and verse 6 shows this, Jesus deliberately waited two days before returning to see Lazarus. Jesus wanted there to be no question about the miracle that was going to take place. They were friends remember. If there could be skepticism they would think Jesus was manipulating people. They would think it was all a magic trick! So he waited. I am sure the smell and the bandages after a rotting body was in the tomb for four days was enough to convince this man was once dead and now is alive! He knew with out the messenger Lazarus was sick. He is the Son of God! He knew the future, for sure. But an interesting part about this story is we don’t find God’s son with out the human being Jesus Christ.
John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible
Shows us the missing link we sometimes have when we ourselves are in a troubling situation. The situation today specifically is regarding death but it can be applied to so many things that cause disturbance, anger, loss, frustration, and the list goes on and on.
This missing link in our train of thought when we face trials is that Jesus was human! He is God and was once human! John 11:35 show us he was a human being who felt deep emotion. This word in Greek describes a loud wailing and crying very unfamiliar to us in our culture but very common in Jesus’ day the same emotion each one of us feels. The God we worship has tender feelings. In Matthew we find Jesus “feeling for the people” 9:35, “showing compassion for the people” 14:14 and “weeping over Jerusalem” 23:37. Our God really does understand our deepest needs and as he did here in this story desires to reach out and touch us!
All along these women were thinking Jesus you could have helped but you didn’t. Have you ever said “you know what God you are God the almighty big and powerful… What’s happening here”? I know I have.
People get sick, loved ones die, sin destroys families, drunk drivers kill an innocent family, people keep getting hurt.
In this situation here in John Jesus allowed it all to happen so that in the end the people’s faith would be strengthened. He revealed God to the world in every aspect of this miracle. He felt what it was like to experience the loss of a loved one. He shows in what he does next that God is able to do all things.
Martha responds, “If you had been here, you could have healed Lazarus. Nevertheless, I still believe in you that God works through you mightily” Jesus is pushing her to a deeper level of discussion. He says I know you believe in the resurrection Martha but “I am (v25) He is not able to just provide resurrection and life though that would be astounding to her. He is implicit I am resurrection and life!
Jesus is resurrection and life. Eternal life and rescue from the finality of death are not just things you get when you appeal to God. They are aspects of ones life when they live a life in association with Jesus! THE LIFE! And followers do not have to wait for the end of human time and history to enjoy the benefits of Jesus’ power.
This is not a last minute request Jesus has been praying
The dramatic high point of the story Jesus calls out “in a loud voice” Lazarus, come out!” It is not a whisper. It is a shout of raw authority. This was a very loud cry the same word in Greek was used to describe the strength of the crowd on Palm Sunday and at the crucifixion.
Lazarus does just that and you can imagine the crowd was probably astonished!
As I said before, we as human beings cannot run from sickness, disarray, and we all will face death unless Jesus returns first. Has Jesus ever had to deal with loss the way we do? That’s a thought I have asked God in my mind before.
I know that you probably have too. I know that you and I will face trials in our life. Sin is deceitful and wishes to control us make us feel we are in it alone. Christ does know how we feel. Accept him into your realm this week. Ask him to come and resurrect a part of your life that is dying or already dead! Christ gives us himself he could have raid Lazarus from heaven but he came to show us he cares! He came like mom to your wedding, she could have sent a card but she came! Christ could have sent us an email something very personal when written well but so impersonal when you realize Christ desires you to receive him into our very realm of existence This Day This Hour!