St. Mary of the Angels
August 20, 2021
John 11:4: “When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified hereby.”
Compare with Galatians 6:14: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
We glorify God in our sufferings, our persecutions, even our death, because when we have no power over our world, our fellow humans, even our own bodies, we have nothing but God and our faith that He remains beside us. To glorify God is to worship Him as our jealous God, which is to say to know that there is nothing else for us but Him, and so to offer up ourselves to Him and to Him alone. We are crucified unto the world, and the world unto us, and so there is only God and ourselves in that moment of absolute existential emptiness and loss.
See Psalm 128:4: “Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.” When we fear the Lord, we seek refuge in nothing or no one but Him. We fear not the world, nor the opinions of others, nor even our own lives, but only God, for only God is for us and we for God. When we are so disposed, then He blesses us completely, for we do not allow anything or anyone else to get in the way of that blessing. We receive the fullness of His blessing which is eternal life.
Thus, the Son of God is glorified in raising Lazarus from the dead, because it is from the Son of God that eternal life springs forth for Lazarus and for all of us. Lazarus arising from the dead is a foreshadowing of this grant of eternal life.
John 11:6: “When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was.” – God’s time is not necessarily our time, and though Christ Jesus is in the world for man, He is faithful to God’s time and purpose.
See Habakkuk 2:3: “For still the vision awaits its appointed time. It hastens to the end. It will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it. It will surely come.” Man cannot be completely blessed by God even unto eternal life unless he has absolute trust in Him. This is especially the case when God’s timing seems contrary to our own view about what should prevail in a good and decent world.
See Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
John 11:11: “…our friend, Lazarus, sleepeth; but I go, that I might awake him out of sleep.”
Compare with Isaiah 26:19: “Your dead will live; your corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy. For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.”
In describing death as sleep, we are really calling to mind the fact that the man who is asleep now shall be awake later. Every death is caught up into the eschatological work of God. There is no death that shall not be raised either unto eternal salvation or unto eternal damnation. So we see that even death does not provide the dead a lasting refuge from the implications of His own life. The eschatological work of God is implied in the earth giving birth unto the departed spirits, so as Adam is born of the dust of the earth and the Spirit of God, so will the departed spirits be born again of the dust of the earth and the Spirit of God. The Son of God, the Logos or Word of God, is He alone who makes this happen, and so when Christ Jesus says “I might awake him out of sleep” He is acknowledging His own divinity.
John 11:25-26: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”
Resuscitation: A man temporarily dead who is “brought back to life” by the intercession of man or of a divine miracle.
Resurrection: A man permanently dead in sin who is freed from that sin and then carried up to eternal life. He lives now in a resurrected body, which is to say a body reflective of God’s image and likeness and conducive to the work ordained for him in his Father’s Kingdom. Only God may resurrect a man.
Lazarus has been resuscitated, but his resuscitation is meant to foreshadow the resurrection of all men in Christ Jesus. Hence, his arising from death is a sign of his greater life yet to come and of the fact that the faithful may die physically but shall be saved from dying in their own sin. As we are reborn into His life, and as we are crucified unto the world and the world unto us, so we shall never die in the Spirit no matter what happens to the flesh.
John 11:33: “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.”
Christ Jesus shares in the sadness of man, who remains afflicted by sin and death, but He is as much angered as the continued triumph of death over life in the lives of His fellow men. This is a triumph that He is about to reverse on the Cross. Man is meant for eternal life, not for all this sorrow and madness, and He is troubled to be reminded of how far afield man is from what he is supposed to be. Christ Jesus weeping shows His affinity with us, but it also shows His fidelity to God and to what God wants for man (and so God’s anger that man is not where man should be in the order of creation). Christ Jesus is as intimate with man as with His Father, and so the troubled spirit is His expression of God’s love for man and also of man’s separation from God.
11 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest 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 might be glorified thereby.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
9 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.
10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
11 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.
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
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.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.
29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.
31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.
32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.