Recently, in Sunday School, we went through John 11. It was a good lesson, and it made we want to write down a few of my own thoughts. For those who don’t identify the chapter, John 11 is given to the events surrounding the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus Christ.
When reading and studying the Scriptures, I like to imagine myself there and to think about how I would respond — these are not just people in a book; these were real people who lived real lives, and, in some ways, were like us.
The most electrifying moment to me is the conversation between Martha and Jesus. He tells her that her brother will live again. Martha, apparently, considers this to be an kind of platitude to cheer her up. Her response sounds like the kind of thing people in mourning say to those that mean well. Her reply is: I know that he shall raise again in the resurrection at the last day. Maybe it was not so, but it sounds to me like she is treating this like many would treat statements like “he’s in a better place”, or “he’s at peace now”. Martha is saying that some day at some time, Lazarus will be raised. Jesus’ response is just electrifying and is a reminder to Martha of just Who Jesus is: I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. Jesus was not talking about sometime in the future; He meant here and now.
A few other notes: I get a laugh out of Thomas; he reminds me of Eeyore in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories – the one who seemed to always be looking on the gloomy side of things. Thomas speaks up in this story after Jesus has announced that he will be going to visit Lazarus. Thomas says (and I can hear the voice of Eeyore stating this): Let us also go, that we may die with him. Full marks for loyalty, but a depressing statement.
After Jesus and Martha speak, Martha goes back and tells Mary that Jesus is calling for her. I don’t know if this is true or not – certainly, it is not recorded that Jesus told Martha to send Mary to Him. I’ve usually considered that Martha was making this up; given her character in other parts of the story (she seems overly concerned about other people), she may have been worried that Mary was moping around, grieving, and wanted her to meet Jesus so that she (Mary) could be encouraged as she (Martha) was. There is some indication that Mary was taking Lazarus’ death harder than Martha was (the Jews didn’t follow Martha, but they did follow Mary).
These are just a few thoughts regarding the events surrounding Lazarus being raised.