Monday, April 23, 2012

John 11:7-16

Jesus waited until the perfect time to head back to Bethany.

Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?” 

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.” (John 11:7-10)

John Courson points out in his commentary that the same thing is true for us. We have an appointed time for our death, as well, and nothing can take us earlier. Neither can we delay that hour. Jesus’ disciples knew that it would be dangerous to go back toward Jerusalem, where the Jewish leaders were on the watch to kill Him. But He was resolute. He knew that His hour was near - and no one could lay a hand on Him before that appointed hour.

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.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” (vs.11-15)

The disciples were confused by Jesus’ figurative language, when he said that Lazarus had “fallen asleep.” So He had to speak plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” Oh my goodness, how many times I have needed Him to just speak plainly to me because I wasn’t getting something He was trying to show me? Sometimes we need to be hit over the head with the obvious!

While the rest of the disciples wanted to keep Jesus from danger, Thomas spoke out boldly:

Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (vs. 16)

Now, Thomas is the one known as “Doubting Thomas” because he required proof of Jesus’ resurrection before he would believe. But here we see his brave character. He was willing to die with Jesus at this point (even though he scattered at the end like most of the disciples). You have to give him some credit here, though, for being devoted to Jesus! I’m so grateful for the examples of Peter and Thomas who knew both grand moments of dedication to Jesus, then would have times when they blew it! Aren’t we all like that? We, too, have our “Thomas” moments, when we step up and are bold for Christ. But, then, we have our weaker moments when we refuse to believe without visual proof!

These same disciples eventually turned the world upside down for Christ, spreading the gospel through the known world. What changed? On the day of Pentecost, they received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and His power is what transformed twelve weak disciples into the bold Apostles who gladly faced persecution and death for their LORD. We, too, have that same power within us when we receive Christ. That same power that raised Jesus from the dead is ours! Why aren’t we bolder? We need to pray for such boldness and believe that the Holy Spirit is at work within us! We need to step out in faith and watch Him use us!

Meanwhile, back in Bethany . . . two sisters are mourning their beloved brother. They are grief-stricken and confused. Jesus is about to knock their socks off!  

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