Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
In John 11, Lazarus was very sick, so his sisters sent word to Jesus. He said to his disciples, “This sickness won’t end in death. It is for God’s glory.” Then he ignored the sisters’ request for two days, and finally said to his disciples, “Ok. Time to head south to Judea.”
The disciples said, “Whoa! They tried to kill you last time you went there.” Jesus said, “Not a problem. And by the way, Lazarus has died. But good news! What happens will increase your faith.”
The disciple Thomas said, “Let’s get on with it then. We can follow Jesus to Lazarus’ death, and his death, and probably ours too.” Not much faith there.
When Jesus arrived in Judea, Lazarus’ sisters said to him, “If you had been here, our brother wouldn’t have died.” Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” And Jesus wept. Perhaps he wept for the sorrow of death, perhaps out of compassion for the sisters, perhaps he wept for the lack of faith everywhere he looked.
Then he went to Lazarus’ grave, got them to roll the stone away from the entrance, and he said to the decomposing body, “Lazarus, come out.” And out he came, wrapped in linen grave clothes.
When the Pharisees heard, they were not impressed and they said, “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take our temple and our nation.” Caiaphus, the high priest, said, “You’re right about that. It would be better for this man to die, and the nation will be saved.”
John, the gospel writer, explains that this was an unintentional prophecy. He says, “Caiaphus was right. Jesus will die to save the Jewish nation, and not only that nation, but also the scattered children of God. He will bring them together and make them one.”
Jesus, along with Lazarus’ sisters, we wonder why you don’t show up sooner in our sickness and pain and sorrow, before death does its final work.
With Thomas we are tempted to despair and cynicism. “We’re going to die anyway. Might as well follow Jesus to Lazarus’ death, and his own death, and probably ours too.”
With the Pharisees we want religion. But not religion out of control. Jesus, your person and teachings push the boundaries of everything that makes life stable and predictable for us. You challenge our view of sickness, of religion, of faith, of death.
We hear you say, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Jesus, we believe in the resurrection of the body. But what do you mean, that you are the resurrection and you are the life? We come to you looking for healing not death, for clarity not questions, for a religious system we can believe in, not a person who throws our lives into turmoil and weeps over the grave.
Jesus, today we receive you as you are, the man of resurrection and life. We receive you into our dying bodies, into our troubled minds, into our wayward spirits. We trust you to bring the scattered children of God together and make them one. Jesus, be our life in this age and in the age to come.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.