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John35 – Why leave a friend to die?

In fact someone was weakening, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. In fact it was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped dry his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was weakening. So the sisters sent out towards him, stating, “Lord, look! You befriend this one. He is weakening.” (John 11: 1)
At this stage in John’s first century eye-witness account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, he has survived three attempts to stone him in Jerusalem. He has then left them, crossed the Jordan river and, there, “many believed into him”. Back in Jerusalem, however, his friend was near death.

In fact, hearing, Jesus said, “This weakening is not towards death, but on behalf of the glory of God, in order that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 

At this stage it seems to us readers that Lazarus will not die – but that through his near-death experience “the Son of God may be glorified”.

In fact Jesus was loving Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that, “he is weakening”, then indeed he stayed two days in the place in which he was. 

How could Jesus have loved-in-action and be continuing to love-in-action these three by staying away from them two more days?

Afterwards, with this, he stated to the disciples, “We may go into Judea again.” The disciples state to him, “Rabbi, the Judeans were seeking right now to stone you, and you are going away there again?” 

The two days are completed. When Jesus says, “We may bring ourselves into Judea again”, he means that it’s now OK to go back to Jerusalem from the point of view of Lazarus, his two sisters and the disciples. The disciples point out the danger to Jesus himself.

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of the day? If anyone may walk in the day, he does not blunder in that he sees the light of this world. In fact if anyone may walk in the night, he blunders, in that the light is not in him.” 

Does Jesus, from your perspective and in the light of the above, know what he is doing?

He said these things, and, with this, he stated to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am departing in order that I may wake him from sleep.” 

It’s still not clear. Or is it? One thing has become clear. If nothing else, Jesus is to “travel on” – to pursue his life’s purpose – for Lazarus in Bethany, Judea. 

So the disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be saved.” In fact Jesus had been saying concerning his death. In fact, these assumed that he is stating concerning the repose of sleep. 

Understandably (from our perspective) the disciples question why Jesus would place himself in mortal danger when Lazarus is only taking rest in sleep.  They use “saved”, thinking that Lazarus’ “weakening” had reversed.

So Jesus then said to them openly, “Lazarus has died, and I rejoice - through you all - in that I was not there, in order that you may believe.” 

Lazarus is, actually, dead. So Jesus rejoices! Something super is to take place, not so much for Lazarus as for them – the disciples.

‘Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the slanderous one— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.’ (From a circular letter to Hebrew Christians c. AD 60)
“But we may go towards him.” So Thomas (the one stated “Didymus”) said to the fellow disciples, “And we may go also, in order that we may die with him.” 

Is Thomas the only sensible one there? Jesus indicates that the way is open for them all to go to Lazarus the dead. Despite death threats to Jesus himself. Despite death possibilities for them all. What on earth is motivating Jesus to do this – and his disciples to go along with it all? 

Sinner Syvret

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