Believe And See The Glory Of God
5th Sunday of Lent:
Readings: Ezekiel 37: 1-14
John 11: 17-44
The whole purpose of Jesus’ life was now coming near its completion. He wanted to show us something important before that took place. He had already opened the eyes of the blind man and in so doing made the religious leaders hate him more. So He left Jerusalem and as He was traveling, He receives a message concerning His friend, Lazarus, who was sick. Jesus said: “This is not a sickness unto death, but is for the glory of God.” This was the 2nd time He said it. We are reminded of the Sermon on the Mount that even when things go wrong, we are still blessed. Jesus’ attitude about Lazarus is that He did not give any credit to death at all. To Him, Lazarus has just “fallen asleep.” The people who heard this thought He was talking about physical sleep. But we need to realize that when Jesus speaks, He speaks in the Spiritual realm. “Lazarus may be dead. But I’m glad I wasn’t there so that I can bring glory to God.”
The disciples were concerned that Jesus was going back to Judea again- the very place that people were skeptical about Him healing the blind man. Jesus, being the Light of the World was speaking to them spiritually. Bethany, where Mary and Martha lived was close to Jerusalem. Many of their friends from Jerusalem went to bring them comfort. Jesus knew He had a mission and was going to Bethany. Martha heard that He was coming and went out to meet Him saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again. I am the Resurrection. I am the Life. He who believes in me though he dies, will live.” And she left to get Mary. The people who saw her thought she was going to the tomb to weep. When Jesus saw them, He got emotional and wept. Lazarus was very close to Him. He asked the sisters where Lazarus was laid and followed them. Jesus then gave instructions for the stone to be removed. Martha was hesitant and tells Him, “it has been 4 days and there will be a stench.” Jesus understood the situation but still asked that the stone be removed. Turning His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, I thank you and know that you have heard me. But for the sake of these people, I said this so that they will believe that Thou has sent me.” With a loud voice, He said, “Lazarus, come forth!” And Lazarus came out of the tomb, still unwrapped but healed and restored, made whole with no stench and decay. He had been dead for 4 days. In Ezekiel where it talks about the Valley of dry bones, life was brought back. Jesus was wanting us to comprehend that it didn’t matter whether one has just died, is decaying or has decayed. He is still able to bring the dead back to life. In the twinkling of an eye, the dead shall be raised incorruptible, with no more imperfection and no more pain. For the religious leaders, this was too much to handle. First, Jesus had healed the blind and now He had raised a person 4 days dead, back to life again. Jesus was giving us a concrete evidence in the raising of Lazarus. When He told the people to unwrap Lazarus right then and there, He wanted to show them proof that Lazarus had indeed been healed and restored.
For those who have died, the day will come when the soul and the body will be reunited. Such is our assurance. This is the hope we have. “Even if you die, you live.”