As the story of Lazarus unfolds, we see examples of faith that challenge our own humanity.
15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” 16 Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.”17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, “ Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
Verses 15 and 21 line up. Jesus’ constant healing of the sick produced an expectation of the people for Him to heal the sick and proved His ability and willingness to do so. This incident, however, is about Jesus stepping up His game. Yesterday we talked about God’s purpose for pain and suffering, in 15 we read exactly what the purpose of this is: so they will believe. As we follow Jesus, our faith in Him grows because He continues to prove and reaffirm His glory and power in our lives. We get to witness His love, mercy, and healing prowess.
Verse 16 seems odd, but if we remember the conversation the disciples had with Jesus previously, they thought He was crazy for going back to the town that just tried to stone Him. Possibly Thomas was being sarcastic with his comment of going to die with Jesus. The disciples obviously went with Jesus, even though they thought they were going to die, or at least that He was. This is another sign of faith and commitment, that they followed Jesus and trusted in Him regardless of the outlook. Jesus constantly pushes us outside of our comfort zones so that we may grow. Too often we reject Him out of fear, discontent, or simply because it is not what we want to do. The story of Lazarus, however, is just unfolding and we see just how awesome God is and how we get to experience it if we follow Him wherever He goes.
I find it interesting that before Jesus even arrived to the town, people started mumbling about His return to the city. Martha heard He was on the way when He was about 2 miles out (maybe someone sent her a text message). Verses 21 and 22 encapsulate the type of faith we should all strive for. Her first thought, which could seem like a disappointed statement, is that if Jesus was there on time, He could have healed Lazarus before He died. However, she mentions that she understands the relationship between Jesus and God the Father.
Where is our faith today? Do we believe that whatever Jesus (our advocate) asks God the Father on our behalf will be granted? Will we follow Him to our death? Do we give Him the opportunity to show up in our lives so we can witness His wonder and majesty or do we turn the other way and do things our way? What’s the point in believing in Christ if we aren’t going to follow Him?