4 August 2020

John 11:38-44

Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ (v. 40)

Psalm: Psalm 96


If we're honest, it's easy to claim to have faith when there appears to be the possibility of something happening, and much less so when all those possibilities seem to have vanished. As Jesus, the bereaved sisters and the gathered mourners arrive at the tomb (verse 38), the general thinking continues: that if Jesus had been around earlier, he could have prevented Lazarus' death (John 11:21, 32). That much is easy for everyone to believe. Bringing a four-day-old corpse back to life, on the other hand – now, that's a tough call, even for Jesus!

And yet it happens (verse 44) – in full view of the grieving sisters and an increasingly cynical crowd. Jesus himself never doubted that it would (as he points out in his brief prayer before calling Lazarus out (verses 41-42)), but he still needed to do something publicly to get everyone's attention. He calls out – and in a scene reminiscent of those old horror films involving mummies, out of the tomb walks the previously dead Lazarus, wrapped up with strips of cloth from his head to his toes.

To Ponder:

  • If Jesus had healed Lazarus earlier when he was just ill (as opposed to letting him die first), do you think the response from the public would have been the same? Why?
  • Imagine being Lazarus for a minute. How do you think he might have felt when he realised he was back on Earth amongst the living?

Bible notes author

George Luke

George Luke was born in London, grew up in Sierra Leone and now lives in Buckinghamshire with his wife and baby daughter. He is co-author of the book Closing Ranks, published by SPCK in September 2020.

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