December 18th, 2006
If you wanted to become an instant celebrity, how would you go about it? In today’s Bible reading, Jesus accidentally hit on a way of becoming an instant celebrity. His friend Lazarus was dead. He had been buried for four days. And Jesus came along and asked them to open up the tomb, then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” The next thing the crowd saw was the dead man walking out of the tomb, still wrapped up in bandages like a mummy. The crowd certainly thought it was amazing, and Jesus became an instant dinner guest at everyone’s parties, as did Lazarus himself.
John’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 11
11:1 A man named Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha, was seriously ill. 11:2 The sick man Lazarus was the brother of Mary who had poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 11:3 The sisters sent a message to him, saying, “Lord, the person you love is sick.” 11:4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This sickness will not result in death, but in the glory of God, so that God’s Son may be glorified by it.” 11:5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 11:6 After he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two days. 11:7 Then he said to the disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.”
11:8 The disciples said, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you. Are you going there again?” 11:9 Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 11:10 But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles because the light isn’t in him.” 11:11 He said these things, and after that said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going to awaken him out of sleep.”
11:12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 11:13 Jesus had spoken about his death, but they thought that he was talking about normal sleep. 11:14 So Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 11:15 I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you can believe. Nevertheless, let’s go to him.” 11:16 Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go also, so that we can die with him.”
11:17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 11:18 Bethany was about three kilometres from Jerusalem. 11:19 Many Jews had come to console Martha and Mary concerning their brother. 11:20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming she went to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 11:21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here my brother wouldn’t have died. 11:22 Even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” 11:23 Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.”
11:24 Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 11:25 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. People who believe in me will still live, even if they die. 11:26 Everyone who believes and lives in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 11:27 She said, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, the one who comes into the world.”
11:28 After saying this she went and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, “The Teacher is here, and is calling you.” 11:29 When Mary heard this, she arose quickly and went to him. 11:30 Jesus had not yet arrived in the village, but was at the place where Martha met him. 11:31 When the Jews who were consoling her in the house saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, thinking, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” 11:32 But when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved 11:34 and said, “Where have you put him?” They answered, “Lord, come and see.” 11:35 Jesus wept. 11:36 The Jews said, “See how much he loved him!” 11:37 Some of them said, “Couldn’t this man, who opened the eyes of a blind man, have also kept this man from dying?”
11:38 Jesus, still deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone rested against it. 11:39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “Lord, there will be a stench by now, because he has been dead for four days.” 11:40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see God’s glory?”
11:41 So they took the stone away from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 11:42 I know that you always hear me, but I have said this because of the crowd that stands here, so that they will believe that you sent me.” 11:43 When he had said this, he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 11:44 The dead man came out, tied up hand and foot with bandages, and a cloth was wrapped around his face. Jesus said to them, “Untie him, and let him go.”
11:45 So many of the Jews who were with Mary and saw what Jesus did believed in him. 11:46 But some went off to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done. 11:47 The senior priests and the Pharisees called a meeting and said, “What are we doing? This man is performing a lot of miraculous signs. 11:48 If we leave him alone like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
11:49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said, “You know nothing at all. 11:50 You don’t realise that it is better for us that one man should die for the people, than that the whole nation perish.” 11:51 He did not say this of his own accord, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 11:52 and not only for the nation, but so that he could also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered throughout the world. 11:53 So from that day onwards they plotted ways of getting him executed. 11:54 Jesus no longer travelled openly amongst the Jews, but left there and went to a city called Ephraim in the country near the wilderness. He stayed there with his disciples.
11:55 The Jewish feast of the Passover was approaching. Many people from the country went to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 11:56 They looked for Jesus and said to each other, as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? Will he come to the feast at all?” 11:57 The senior priests and Pharisees had ordered that anyone who knew where he was must report it, so that they could seize him.
Entry Filed under: Hope