A friend has died. A beloved friend has been allowed to die by the Lord of glory. Now He decides it is time to go and “wake him up.” Let’s look at these verses one more time …
6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Emotionally, this passage is rich, for we see what made Jesus “glad.” He says to His disciples, “for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” (v. 15). At whatever cost to us, and at whatever cost to Him, Jesus makes decisions that are intended to lead us into a deeper faith. (Later we will see Jesus’ sadness shown as He stands at Lazarus’ tomb).
The disciple Thomas (not the betrayer) instructs the other disciples about this suicide mission: “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (v. 16). It seems obvious what Thomas thought would happen. Maybe Lazarus will get resurrected, but Jesus and His followers will get executed! But life, not death, is on Jesus’ agenda today, as the disciples will soon see. (to be continued)