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Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

John 11:1-5 (Daily Verse and Comment)

  John 11:1-5

(1) Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (2) It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. (3) Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." (4) When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." (5) Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

Obviously, quite a close bond existed between Lazarus and JesusLuke 10:38-42 shows that Jesus had spent time with the family, eating, talking, and perhaps even staying with them occasionally during His travels around Judea. Twice in these five verses, it is mentioned that Jesus loved Lazarus, and this fact is connected with His approach to this man's death. For, when He heard that Lazarus was sick, even knowing it was a fatal illness, He remained where He was for two more days (John 11:6)! John describes Jesus' attitude toward death as calm and confident, an assessment again depicted in verses 11-13.

What He says to His disciples in John 11:14-15takes it still further: "Then Jesus said to them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.'" He was glad that Lazarus had succumbed to this illness! It was not a macabre pleasure but a positive outlook, a kind of righteous joy, since He knew that the resurrection He would perform would bring about a great deal of good: Lazarus would live, the disciples' faith would be bolstered, a great witness would be made, and the path to Calvary would be set firmly in motion.

Jesus surely took a different approach to death than we do!

Later, John records that "Jesus wept" (verse 35), and many people blithely assume that He was grieving for Lazarus, but they are mistaken. He had no need to weep for Lazarus because He knew the miracle He would soon perform. Verse 33 says, "He groaned in the spirit and was troubled" when He saw Mary and the Jews with her weeping. A word study of "groaned in the spirit" shows that He was upset, even angry or indignant, rather than grief-stricken, and His emotion came out in tears. The context shows that He wept for their unbelief and their lack of hope. Even Mary, who had hung on His every word, did not understand His power or the true hope of the resurrection. Jesus is Master over death (Hebrews 2:14), and still they disbelieved!

In summary, Jesus views death through the lens of hope and the good that lies beyond it.

— Richard T. Ritenbaugh

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