Lazarus Makes a Comeback
Have you ever been "dead on your feet?"
What do we know about the relationship between Jesus and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus? (Luke 10 shows that Jesus had visited their home in the past.) It makes sense that they would send for Jesus to help their sick brother.
Why does Jesus delay heading back to Bethany? It didn't seem as though he had pressing business where he was. Jesus said that this illness would not end in death, and the he said that Lazarus had died. Why the contradiction? It ain't over until it's over. Perhaps there is more to the story.
Meanwhile, Jesus says that he is glad he wasn't there to prevent Lazarus' death. There is definitely more to the story.
When Jesus arrives, Martha says that if he had been there, her brother wouldn't have died. Jesus says that Lazarus will rise again and Martha agrees that she expects to reunite with her brother in the resurrection at the end of time. Jesus says that he is the Resurrection, that anybody who believes in him will live even though they die. Martha says she believes in Jesus and what he says, but can she really be processing it all?
When Mary comes out and Jesus sees how distraught she is, he begins to weep.
Jesus orders the stone removed from the tomb, but Martha argues with him, even though she said he is the Messiah. Do we do the same thing? Martha is clinging to her belief that Jesus is the Messiah even though she can't fully comprehend the difficult situation she is in. We should do the same thing.
Jesus prays out loud. Why? Jesus orders Lazarus out of the tomb. Why did Jesus call him by name? What is the impact on the people who witnessed all this?
If Jesus knew all along that he would raise Lazarus from the dead, why was he weeping earlier? What does this say about Jesus' reaction to our heartbreak?
Lazarus had a difficult assignment, but it was worth it for the glory of God. Our assignments can also be difficult and a blessing. Martha and Mary would have described their situation as being bad and yet it turned out to be very good for everybody who was there. We don't have enough knowledge about out situations to call them bad...Romans 8:28 tells us that God works for good in the midst of all things.