Vs. 1, “Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.” We now come to undoubtedly the most powerful miracle recorded as Jesus shows He has power over death and life in an indisputable resurrection of life in Lazarus (vs. 1-44). Upon receiving the message that Lazarus was sick, Jesus surprises us by not going to Bethany right away (vs. 4-6). It was a dangerous thing to go to Bethany (vs. 8, 16) for it was only a couple of miles away from Jerusalem. The disciples knew by this time how polarizing Jesus’ ministry was and how dangerous it would be to be so close the capital city where the opponents held the strongest influence. Upon arriving to Bethany (vs. 17-37), Jesus comforts the grieving sisters; Martha and Mary. John shares with us the fifth I AM statement as Jesus states, “I am the resurrection and the life…” (vs. 25). We are given quite a personal perspective on the emotions of our Lord (vs. 35). For the benefit of all of us, Jesus raises Lazarus (vs. 38-44); I wonder what kind of testimony Lazarus would have on what he might have remembered. However, all of these miracles culminated to the point that the enemies of the cross conspired to stop Jesus’ influence (vs. 45-57).
Regarding application…Man of Sorrow. Vs. 35, “Jesus wept.” Question: Why did Jesus weep? Certainly, He knew that Lazarus was going to be raised up to life again. However, this was a unique miracle and one that is certainly not going to be repeated until the resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns again (I Thess. 4:13-18). There could have been many reasons Jesus wept. Perhaps he wept because He saw the pain of those he loved in sorrow, perhaps he wept because he knew that death was never something He intended for his creation. One of the members of my church recently lost a loved one. There was a beautiful service and as the eulogy was being shared, I couldn’t help but weep with the grieving. Fortunately, life is a vapor in the wind and death is but a entryway into eternal life for those who are saved. In the midst of all of our busyness, let’s take time to have our hearts reach out to others.
Vs. 23, “Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” It’s always difficult to come upon these passages of the last week before Jesus was crucified. Yet, in these accounts, we are reminded of beautiful faith. Mary’s anointing of Jesus is an incredible picture of understanding what it means to sacrifice (vs. 1-8). But the enemy was on the move and with Passover week just around the corner, the Jews were looking for Jesus coming to their trap in Jerusalem (vs. 10). After the Triumphant Entry (vs. 12-19), we see Jesus continue to minister to the lost. Yet, the lost sheep of Israel were hardening their hearts as prophesied by Isaiah (vs. 37-50). What’s striking to me is that some of the leaders believed, but would not put their faith into action due to fear of men (vs. 42-43). I wonder how often this transpires in our own lives.
Regarding application…Following Jesus. Vs. 26, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” Question: What does this look like? Does it mean sell everything and live a transient lifestyle proclaiming Jesus with nothing but the clothes on your back? God has called each of us to a unique life and way that is specially made for us. The prophet Daniel at a young age was deported to Babylon, but following God meant he must acclimate to a new culture. In the last prophet before Jesus, John the Baptist, following Jesus was shown by living out in the desert. Following Jesus is going to look different for each person. I believe that prayer, bible and the church are wonderful tools and road signs to guide us down the path less traveled. Let the peace of God work in your heart to determine the path in which you follow Jesus. Have a blessed start of your week as you take the step of faith and dine at the table of our King each day!
Vs. 25, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” Jesus is responding to Martha’s faith that one day Lazarus who had recently died will rise from the dead at the resurrection. We have an interesting situation where a very close family to Jesus loses their brother, Lazarus. We wonder why Jesus is not hurrying back to Bethany upon hearing of Lazarus’ death (vs. 6). But, we see that Jesus has a purpose for in this miracle of bringing Lazarus back from the dead. The longer they lingered finishing up what they were doing, the more people will be amazed (vs. 4). For Jesus to return so near to Jerusalem (vs. 18), it was a very dangerous move for the enemy had started plotting to find a way to arrest and kill Jesus (vs. 45-57). I can’t help but notice that God is in control of this situation. For example, Lazarus’ death would bring Jesus near to the enemy. The enemy would find ways to distort Jesus. And all of this would lead to Jesus being obedient to death on a cross. Jesus was not a victim, rather He conquered death and is literally the resurrection!
Regarding application…Emotions Are Good. Vs. 35, “Jesus wept.” Let’s face it…showing too much emotion is a sign of weakness. Crying is for babies. Being too happy is a bit unusual. Do you remember Tom Cruise’s interview with Oprah back in 2006, where he stood up on a couch with joy professing his love to Katie Holmes? That one incident of emotion almost derailed his career. People frown upon any type of extreme emotion. With an election year, if any of the Presidential candidates started weeping on live television, they probably wouldn’t stand a chance at the Presidency. In the Gospels, we see Jesus display emotions of anger, joy, weeping, etc. Emotions are good. God created us with emotions, that’s what makes us so unique amongst God’s other creations. Tomorrow is Sunday, many of you may be headed to church. I challenge you to have a bit more emotion in your soul! Sing unto the Lord with joy!
Vs. 2, “He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” In our previous chapter, sending out the twelve was not enough. Jesus needed more, so we see that seventy-two (or seventy) will help spread the Gospel (vs. 1-24). It’s important to note a couple of things going on here; there is danger in ministry, that’s why we should not do it alone. And also, they were not just planting the seed of truth, they were to literally reap of the harvest (salvation)! The more I read Jesus’ ministry, I realize how he ensured that all were reached out to both the poor and educated. The Parable of the Good Samaritan was a response from an educated teacher of the law with a salvation question (vs. 25-37). But Jesus uses this a reminder to all that we are to love others as God loved us. Simple, huh? And lastly, we come to our dear Martha and Mary account of beings so worried about serving Jesus that we forget to spend time with him (vs. 38-42).
Regarding application…Being with Jesus. Vs. 39, “She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” Question: What was Martha doing? She was very busy doing all the work to prepare for the Lord. Question: Are you busy in your life these days? The Holiday seasons always seem to be synonymous with busyness. Yet, we have a beautiful picture of what it is all about. Martha was not wrong, there is a time to prepare. But she was so busy worrying about that, she didn’t have time to just sit and be with Jesus like Mary. For myself, I find I like to do tangible things to help the Lord. Like a good solider, I’m ready for battle, just tell me what you want me to do! Yet, my leader just wants to spend time with me? Dearest brothers & sisters…Jesus is our commander and chief, but more importantly, He loves us so much that he actually wants to spend time with you. That’s what this QT blog is all about, reminding us of the importance of being with Jesus!