Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ John 11:25-26 (NIV)
Chapter 11 of John’s Gospel recounts the events surrounding the death of Lazarus and Jesus raising him from the dead.
The account unfolds in verses 1-16, with us being told that Lazarus was ill and that he died. Yet in verse 4 Jesus says ‘This illness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’ Surely Jesus has got it wrong! Let’s see how the story unfolds.
The question is often asked why Jesus didn’t rush to heal Lazarus when he heard he was ill. If he loved Mary and Martha (verse 5) and Lazarus (verse 3), surely this is what he should do. However, he stayed where he was for two further days and only then set out with his disciples to go to Bethany.
On arrival in Bethany Jesus found that Lazarus had been buried four days previousy. Now it becomes apparaent why Jesus waited. He knew the reason for Lazarus’ death (v4) and that he would raise him from the dead (v11). He was obviously waiting until there could be no doubt that Lazarus had actually died and the miracle of raising him from the dead would be beyond doubt.
In verses 38-44 we read the account of the raising of Lazarus. Read on and we discover two very different reactions to this miracle –
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
So from that day on they plotted to take his life. John 11:45-47, 53 (NIV)
Notice that no-one doubted the miracle. They knew that Lazarus had been ill and that he had died. They knew that he had been buried and been in the tomb for a number of days before Jesus arrived. They had seen Lazarus come out of the tomb alive. Yet some believed and some went away to plot his death!
Where does this leave us? Jesus made an astonishing claim to Martha in verses 25-26 of the chapter –
‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’
Weighing up the evidence, what do you believe?
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