WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28
SCRIPTURE: John 11
If you are familiar with the Bible, you are probably familiar with this story. Although familiarity with the Scripture is certainly a good thing, we have to be careful that our familiarity does not lead to carelessness. In other words, when we read the Bible we need to read carefully – not reading into it what we remember that it said but reading it to see what it actually said. So, I hope you read this chapter closely.
As the chapter opens, we find that a man named Lazarus was sick. His two sisters sent for Jesus to come and help. Since Jesus was about one day’s journey from Bethany when the story started, we know that Lazarus actually died on the day the sisters sent the messenger to Jesus. Here’s how we know this. In verse 39, Martha told Jesus that Lazarus had been dead for four days. So, a little quick math: it took one day for the messenger to get to Jesus; Jesus waited two days before He headed to Bethany; and, it would have taken one day for Him to get there. There’s your four days.
Why is that important? Here’s another question to consider. Since Jesus had already proven He could heal from a distance, why didn’t He do that for Lazarus? Verse 14 doesn’t say Jesus was glad that Lazarus died. He said He was glad that this situation would allow Him to demonstrate His power over our biggest enemy: death.
I am going to skip ahead in the story a bit now to verse 35. This two word verse is the shortest verse in the Bible but it has much significance. So, why did Jesus cry? If He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, why did He cry?
To begin with, the Greek word used for wept here is found only here in the Bible. It refers to a “silent” weeping. This was not an audible wailing which is what happens in verse 33. This is a deeply personal, quiet weeping. But why did He cry?
One reason is His weeping reveals His humanity. Isaiah 53:3 says Jesus is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He knows what it is like for to weep and grieve. That means He is more than able to comfort us in our sorrows.
A second reason is His weeping may have been the result of the undeniable effect sin has had on creation. The wages of sin is death. Death is the result of sin. So, as Jesus stood by the tomb that day, He may have been overcome by the devastation that sin had caused in His creation.
A third reason is His weeping may have actually been for Lazarus. Maybe Jesus was grieving because He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead and Lazarus was going to have to live in this sin infected world for awhile longer.
Whatever the reason way, Jesus was visibly and physically disturbed by this event. Nevertheless, He called Lazarus from the tomb and Lazarus came forth. Jesus proved He is the Resurrection and that He had complete authority and power over our greatest enemy: death.
Our friends, the Pharisees knew that this miracle was going to be the beginning of the end. They were either going to have kill Jesus or they were going to lose their place in their culture (verse 48). Isn’t it interesting that even in light of such a miracle, they were still only concerned about themselves?