John 11:1-44 Raising Lazarus, Jesus as the resurrection and life.
This passage is all about life and death. John is the only one who tells this story. As we hear this story, we may hear tales of another death and resurrection. This story does some things out of order – Mary is identified as the one who washes Jesus’s feet, but that doesn’t happen until John 12, for instance. This is a telling that looks back on these events.
As often happens, a messenger comes to tell Jesus that all is not right and requesting the help of Jesus. Jesus waits 2 days before travelling to Judea. The disciples want to keep Jesus safe, and try to encourage Jesus not to go back to Bethany. Thomas even says that they should go so that they might die with Jesus.
Upon arrival, Lazarus has been in the tomb for 4 days. The sisters have a sense that if Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not be dead. Martha makes an affirmation of faith – you are the Messiah. Jesus identifies himself as the resurrection and the life. I think that we could hear the “if you had been here, our brother would not have died” as a statement of faith, not as a complaint.
Jesus proves that he is the resurrection and the life by calling out to Lazarus. And Lazarus comes out. You may hear the sense of another story of resurrection here. And you should. Christians will later (and to this day) assert that our resurrection is because of and contained within Christ’s resurrection, which we hear Jesus say in this passage. Our faith meets at the point of life and death, our faith is affirmed in the point of life and death, and our faith is called to live at the place where life and death meet. How do we live that out today?