Reading: John 11: 1-45
Verses 25a and 26 – I am the resurrection and the life… whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Today’s passage reveals many aspects of who Jesus is. In each stage of the story, our understanding of Jesus deepens.
In the beginning of the story, we see a Jesus who is intimately connected to human beings. He did not just dwell here but was connected in human relationships as well. He is in ministry doing God’s will far away yet these two sisters send for Jesus to come attend to a personal need – their brother and one of Jesus’ close friends is very sick. These ladies are good friends of Jesus and think nothing of asking Him to drop whatever He is doing to respond to their plea for help. This connection is again reinforced in verses 35 and 36, where Jesus weeps and those there note how He loved these friends. Jesus was intimately connected to His good personal friends.
What happens next may at first appear to contradict this. Jesus does not go right to Bethany. He stays where He is. He even reveals after two days that now they can go because Lazarus has died. Jesus plainly tells the disciples that Lazarus had to die so that all can see Jesus’ glory and can come to believe. Jesus is acutely aware of the end game. It must have been hard for the human side of Jesus to allow the grief and pain to come upon His dear friends. After all, He could have healed Lazarus from afar, from right where He was. Yet Jesus knew God’s plan and was obedient to it. Jesus knew that in the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, God’s glory would be revealed and the faith of many would be strengthened and others would come to believe too. In case this part of the story, we see how Jesus sometimes allows those He loves to walk through the valleys for the purposes of strengthening one’s faith or to help one find faith. He loves us that much.
As the story unfolds, we see the Jesus who can do anything. He raises Lazarus from the grave even though he has been dead for four days. He tells Martha (and us) why: “I am the resurrection and the life… whoever lives and believes in me will never die”. He is this for us too. As our journey of faith unfolds, Jesus comes to live more and more in our hearts as our belief in Him grows. Our human yet all-powerful friend, Jesus, leads us to eternal life as well. For this great gift of God that we have in Jesus, we say thanks be to God!