The Gospel of John, The Period of Conflict - The Clash of Belief and Unbelief, The Raising of Lazarus, Part XCII, John 11:11-15 - Lesson 89
Read Verses John 11:7-10 for review, Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
John 11:11-13, These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
The disciples knew that Jesus was to go to Judea.
He now tells them specifically that he is going to awake "our friend" Lazarus out of sleep.
So he makes it clear that they are at least not returning to Jerusalem but to Bethany.
Jesus Christ knew that Lazarus was dead but he used the term sleep to describe his friend's state.
Death, he likened to sleep-the death of the body, that is.
We understand sleep, we all experience it daily.
Sleep is a temporary state with an end.
There is a rising from sleep to take up living again.
Sleep is harmless and there is nothing to fear, but much to be thankful for.
Sleep is a friend and not a foe.
So, for the Christian, it is with death.
The sting has gone from death.
Sleep comes as a welcome relief after the work and trials and sometimes sorrows and suffering of the day.
In sleep we lie down to rise again.
In like manner death is but a sleep and an awakening, a resurrection.
And sleep is a time of rest, the work of the day is over
And likewise so is death for the child of God: Rev 14:13, ....Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours....
Sleep shuts out the sorrows of life.
We become unconscious of the troubles which so grieve us during the day.
The sleep of the night is welcome relief to the trials and difficulties of the day.
Perhaps the Lord uses sleep to describe death is to show us that the resurrection is as easy as one who wakes up after a nights sleep.
To raise the dead will be simpler to him than arousing a sleeper.
And sleep is the time when the body is reinvigorated for the duties of tomorrow.
When the awakened sleeper arises he is refreshed and ready to take on the new day.
In like manner the resurrected believer is given new power.
The mortal bodies limitations will no longer exist.
That which is sown in weakness shall be raised in power.
John 11:14, Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
The disciples supposed that Lazarus was recovering.
Jesus knew he was dead. He is God and he is omniscient.
He was not in Bethany but he knew that his friend was already dead
John 11:15, And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
Jesus infers that if he had been in Bethany during the time of Lazarus' sickness, Lazarus would not have died.
He was glad for the sake of the disciples that he was not there so the disciples would believe in him, trust in him as the resurrection.
There is no account given in scripture where someone died in the presence of Christ.
He is the author of life and it was inconsistent that someone should die in his presence.
The Gospel records show that whenever Christ came into the presence of death, death at once fled before him.
Even the two thieves on the cross died after Jesus Christ gave up his spirit.
He was glad because now the disciples would witness his glory in the resurrection of a man that had lain dead for four days.
If Christ had been there the inference is that Lazarus would not have died.
If Christ had healed Lazarus from afar Mary and Martha and Lazarus would have been denied a far greater blessing and the disciples would have missed the opportunity to strengthen their faith.
In like manner the whole church down through the ages would have been the loser.
Jesus Christ abode two days east of the Jordan.
How easily we could conclude that he was cold to the needs of Mary and Martha but God's ways are not our ways, are they?
He wants to bless us in the greatest way but so many times we settle for the crumbs that fall off the table.