What does it say?

Calling Lazarus back from death is the seventh sign miracle in John’s gospel (John 11). Lazarus was Jesus’ friend along with his sisters Mary and Martha. These sisters send messengers to inform Jesus that Lazarus is ill. Jesus intentionally waits two days before going to him. By this time Lazarus is dead and Jesus knows it. Neither his disciples nor Lazarus’ sisters understand why Jesus has delayed coming to the home in Bethany.

When Jesus finally arrives in Bethany, Lazarus has been dead four days. Jesus commands that the tomb be opened. He then commands Lazarus to come out, and he does! It must have been a sight to see Lazarus struggle to walk out of the grave wrapped tightly in the traditional grave clothes. Jesus commands that Lazarus be set free from them. Not even Jesus’ religious enemies can deny the reality of this miracle. This is the event that pushes them to the point of seriously planning Jesus’ death.

What does it mean?

When Jesus healed the man blind from birth and he was questioned as to who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind. He answered that neither was the case, but that this was for the glory of God (John 9:3). This miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead is also for God’s glory (11:40), explaining why Jesus delayed his arrival.

There are many things in life that we struggle to understand. Sometimes we later learn the reasons that we sought, but other times we never know. One of the most significant lessons to take from this chapter is that even when we don’t understand all the reasons why, we can be sure that God in the pursuit of his mission and is using the events of life for his glory.

How will I respond?

Is there something in my life that I am struggling to understand? Is there anything that I have seen in the Bible that would throw light on this issue? Have I prayed and asked God to reveal the purposes to me if he so please? If I still don’t have the answer I desire, I will commit right now to trust God to have everything in my life under control and that he is using these circumstances to advance his mission and so that he might receive the great glory.