This chapter begins with Lazarus of Bethany being sick. He was from the same town as Mary and Martha (Mary was the one who anointed Jesus with fragrance oil and wiped His feet with her hair. She was Lazarus’ sister.) Lazarus’ sister sent to Jesus to let Him know that someone whom He loves personally is sick and needs healing. She thought that because Jesus had a personal connection with Lazarus that He would be more motivated to stop what He was doing and go straight to Lazarus to heal Him. God isn’t a respecter of persons, He doesn’t have “favorites” or love some more than others. He is love and loves us ALL, saved and unsaved. This is a hard thing for the flesh to fathom, we tend to show favor towards people we are closer too and as we see here in this chapter Jesus kept doing what He was doing and got to Lazarus as He made is way there. He didn’t worry, fear or panic and He didn’t end His current task sooner to get to Lazarus sooner. What’s amazing is, He didn’t even have to go to Lazarus, He could have just spoke His healing into place. But He knew the bigger picture, He knows everything and He knew the testimony that would come out of raising Lazarus from the dead. His pace didn’t change like Mary thought it would sense Jesus knew Lazarus personally. What Mary couldn’t yet understand was that Jesus knows us all personally, the question isn’t does He know us… God is all knowing and omniscient, its us that needs to ask do we know Him personally? This was a hard thing to understand and fathom at that point because this was of coarse before the cross.
Mary had to have been confused as to why Jesus didn’t rush over there the second He heard the word. Our flesh wants to overthink things and make theologies out of anything, however, unlike Mary, we have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us and help us stay in check. Jesus’ response when He received word of Lazarus was that the sickness will not end in death, but for the glory of God that the Son of God may be glorified.
This was an opportunity for Mary to choose faith over fear. Jesus said that her brother wouldn’t die yet in the natural she was watching her brother die. I can see how this could have confused her and how the enemy could have tried to get her to throw in the towel and loose hope as they were putting her brother in the tomb. She was given a choice here: to hold onto the truth that Jesus said or to go off of the way things looked and appeared in the natural. We are given this choice every day in many situations.
When we are walking in complete faith and listening to God, our actions may confuse the world and not make sense to others. A lot of things Jesus did confused the Jews, but that’s because though He was in the world He was not of it and we are called to be the same way. We are in the world but not of it and our ways should reflect and model Jesus’ ways which means it probably won’t make sense to the outside world. For example, planning an event the secular way would include advertising and following proper protocols for the event. Planning an event God’s way may look nothing like that, the Holy Spirit may even say don’t advertise I will tell the people to come. This would make anyone operating in the secular world confused and they would probably try to work on their own merit and advertise anyways. But for those in faith in Jesus it will make perfect sense; we are called to show up and be obedient with what we have, we aren’t called to do the miracles or perform the supernatural. Thats God’s doing, we aren’t called to feed the five thousand; we are called to show up with what we have and allow God to multiply it. He is the healer, He is the deliver, He is the conquerer; we are to just show up and allow Him to do His thing through us and be willing and obedient. This concept to the world won’t make any sense, and that’s because it requires faith in Him and who HE is.
Jesus told His disciples that they now needed to go see Lazarus for he was asleep. They didn’t understand and insisted it was good for Lazarus to rest and almost insinuated that they didn’t need to go because resting will make him well. Jesus then had to say plainly that he wasn’t resting he was dead. He then said that for their sakes He is glad that He was not there so that they can beleive. Jesus arriving after Lazarus past is now giving the disciples and the world an opportunity to beleive in Jesus. Something that sticks out here is that Jesus meets us where we are at. He tried to explain in His own way that Lazarus had past and they didn’t get it at all. Rather then leave them in suspense He spoke it in a way that they could understand. God is always talking to us, more than people think. It’s not that He isn’t trying, its that we aren’t tuned in to hear Him. Picture a radio, something is always playing but if you aren’t tuned into a particular station you won’t hear anything. That doesn’t mean nothing is on, it means you aren’t tuned in. It’s the same with God, if we aren’t hearing Him its not because HE isn’t talking to us, its because we aren’t tuned in. He is so patient and kind and meets us where are at if we allow Him to. He tried to tell His disciples Lazarus was dead and it went over their heads so He rephrased it in a way that they would understand.