John 11

The raising of Lazarus.  Is there a lesson here beyond that of life after death?
In a word: sure!   As I write this morning the sun is beginning to shine in my window, and the temperature is slowly climbing.  Birds are beginning to return and their chirping fills a void that I hadn’t realized was present.  It’s spring, and spring is the time of new birth.
Spring proves to us that trees and plants that appeared dead are actually not dead at all, they were simply dormant.  They come back to life in vibrant color and extravagant shape and smell.  Speaking spiritually, the human body is no different.  We were dead in our sins, and Christ spoke new life into us, and suddenly: it’s spring.  New life comes bursting forth from the once dead human heart.    
Jesus is doing three things in this passage:  1.  He is demonstrating that He has power and authority over death.  Since only God is more powerful than death, He is demonstrating that He is God.  2.  He is showing us that what is dead will live again, a metaphor for our eternal life with Christ.  3. He is showing compassion and empathy for the family, which connects him to us as humans.  
Jesus loves us and cares deeply about us.  That’s wonderful news, because He alone has the  power and authority at his disposal to heal us and even bring us back from the dead.  This  passage reveals to us that He is predisposed to work on our behalf.
There are other truths here as well:  Jesus may have been foreshadowing his own death.  I wonder if he was thinking about how the angels would roll away the stone on his tomb when he commanded that Lazarus’ stone be moved?  It’s sort of a “deja vu” moment in reverse, before it happens.
In this passage we learn that Mary the sister of Lazarus is the same Mary who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair.  What a powerful and intimate expression of love!  That kind of love certainly must be disarming.   Who could hold a grudge against someone who loves like that?
We also learn in this passage that Martha is loved.  Jesus didn’t hold her busyness against her.  It’s Martha that makes the wise and informed confession that Jesus is the Messiah.  Martha says “I have always believed”…also very powerful.   It’s no wonder Jesus made a point to stop by their home when he was passing through.  They must have been a breath of fresh air for the foot weary Savior.
In the second part of the chapter, beginning with verse 45 we see the “net beginning to close” around Jesus.   Caiaphus the high priest had a vision that  Jesus would die for the people.  That was an authentic vision, but Caiaphus’ interpretation of it was wrong.   Jesus would in fact die for the people, and to unite the people of many countries under his rule…just not the way Caiaphus thought he would.     It reminds me that Jesus can use anyone or anything to bring about the end result he wants.  Nothing is beyond him.  No circumstances control him.  He is never boxed into a corner or without means to act.
All powerful, all knowing….and in love with you and I.    How blessed are we?
Loving the Lord, especially in the spring,