Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick."
When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."
The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and You are going there again?" Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up."
The disciples said, "Lord, if he sleeps he will get well." However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him."
Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him."
The Book of John describes Jesus the best. From the words in the beginning of John that He is the Word, is with God and is God, to His death, resurrection and reappearance to His disciples, we begin to know Jesus. We see His compassion, judgment and power through healing and miracles. All designed that we might know and believe like those in His days.
All that is written in the Bible from Old to New Testaments is there that He may be glorified. Nothing less. While some may believe He is too judgmental, it's only because those who think this are convicted...which brings anger and a turning away from Him. No one wants their sin revealed. None of us do. But for those who believe, we know it is for our good.
So here we see an account being set up. Jesus knows a family: Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Lazarus has become ill and Mary and Martha call for Jesus because they know He can heal him.
The odd thing is Jesus doesn't rush to handle the situation. He lingers awhile before deciding to head back to Judea, where His life is in danger, to Lazarus and his sisters. But this, as He says, is to glorify God...and essentially Himself. May sound a little arrogant but I assure you it is not. It is just added proof of His previous miracles and statements that He is the Son of God and that He does nothing apart from His Father's will. An attempt to reveal Himself. And attempt to show us who we should be putting our trust in.
Even the disciples who had seen the miracles and healing He had performed needed more proof. I look at how we live our lives in Christ. We do not see where God is doing something and we might even forget to trust Him until we are reminded of how He works, which in each of us is different. It's all part of how we believe and trust Him in all areas of our lives.
Examples: a serious illness overtakes us and we don't see how we will be healed; yet God might withhold healing for a specific reason. Or what seemed to be the perfect job isn't received; God may be withholding that for His perfect job, one that is even better suited. Something unexpected shakes up our comfort zone and we are forced to change our lifestyle, if even for a season. Unexpected death might bring about a miracle in someone else. We just don't know all of God's plans. And we can't second guess God. We shouldn't.
The disciples had heard Jesus say returning to Judea would glorify God. They heard when He said "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12) and now He's talking about walking in the day because they might stumble at night? What's this all about? They were confused about Jesus' words about Lazarus. He's asleep; he's dead. Which is it? How was He to be glorified by someone's death? He hadn't gone directly to help this good friend of His. I suppose it takes us all some time to get stuff like this into our heads.
I'm sure the rest of the story of Lazarus is well known. We will see how we are all like Lazarus. We will see the glory of God. We will see Truth in action. But all that's for tomorrow!
John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.