Reading Through the Bible, Friday, November 4. John 11 – 13

    With the exception of the Resurrection, chapter 11 contains the final miracle of Jesus’ ministry, and only the resurrection itself comes close to matching it in a demonstration of power.

    If you had been Lazarus, how might you have felt?

    Kinda depends on where Lazarus was when he got “called back.”

    But the story isn’t really about Lazarus at all.  It’s about faith.  Among Jesus’ many claims was that he held the power of life over death.  If you believed Jesus really had that power, death would not be a challenge – as long as you were a friend of Jesus.

    Perhaps that’s why Jesus was so upset.  These “friends” didn’t really believe in him.  They believed the right “belief”: that the dead would rise in the ‘last day,’ they just didn’t believe Jesus could do anything about it in the present time.  The desperation of the situation is underscored by John with the repeated references to weeping – even after Jesus’ assurance that Lazarus would indeed come back to life.  And the text says Jesus was “deeply moved.”  It’s not how you feel when you go to a funeral where there is unbounded grief.  The words point to anger.  One writer puts it like this:  “Despite the testimony of the Bible, despite the signs Jesus wrought among them, which all bore witness to the life of the divine sovereignty that had come into the world through him, and despite the world that he proclaimed, with its emphasis on the promise of life now and hereafter, they mourned like the rest of men.  It was this unbelief of the people of God in the presence of him who is the ‘Resurrection and the Life,’ arrived among them to call their friend and brother from the grave, that made Jesus angry.”

    But a lack of faith didn’t stop Jesus from acting, and I’m glad – because I fear that sometimes, my faith would be equally disappointing to the Lord.