There is a lot going on in John 11. Two things stand out to me that I hadn’t really seen before in this passage.
First of all, let’s just acknowledge this is the ultimate declaration by Jesus that he is the resurrection and the life (that’s not one of the things that I hadn’t seen, but thought should be mentioned here first.). And he is so moved by the grief of his friends that he weeps. The shortest verse in all of Scripture, “Jesus Wept.” Many times we think that in the middle of our grief we are alone, but Jesus stands by weeping with us. He always has and will till the resurrection. And he is the resurrection and the life. We look to him when we think of our eternal destinies.
Now the two things I haven’t seen before. You know how you brush over something in the reading and then a second or twentieth time it hits you.
Lazarus had been dead for four days. In verse 39 Martha let’s Jesus know he had been dead for four days. After three days Jesus was raised from the dead. Lazarus was dead longer than Jesus would be. What an awesome miracle. Not only did Jesus declare he was the resurrection and the life he proved it by raising Lazarus from the dead on the fourth day. What an ultimate proof of an unbelievable claim. In Matthew 27:50-53 there is the account of many holy people being raised from the dead when Jesus died. They had been dead longer than four days. What power we find in Jesus and his work in our lives and others.
Second it was not a good idea for Jesus and his disciples to go back to Judea where the Jews were trying to stone him. After a bit of a debate with the disciples they are going back. And Thomas states the following, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (verse 16) What do we call Thomas at this side of the New Testament? We call him Doubting Thomas. He doubted the resurrection till he saw Jesus and then he was all in. Here Thomas was ready to die with Jesus. It’s interesting that we tend to think of the low periods of an individual’s life and don’t remember the high ones. Here Thomas was all in and ready to die. Although we all go through low periods of our spiritual journeys let’s think the best of our fellow Christ followers.
Father God, more than once Jesus showed us his power over death. That same power is at work within us today. Like Thomas let us be ready to die for the person that gives lifetime and time again. In Jesus strong and life giving name we pray, amen.