John 11 is famous for the death and resurrection of one of Jesus’ close friends, Lazarus. Jesus gets word that Lazarus is sick and dying. But Jesus, in his Omniscience, knows that Lazarus is already dead. He says “this sickness will not end in death, but is for the glory of God”.
The last time they had been in Judea, they had attempted to stone him to death in John 10. So, when Jesus says, “Let’s go to Judea again”, the disciples aren’t keen on the idea. “uh, Teacher, they tried to stone you, and you’re going there again?” I like that “you’re”, meaning, “we’re”.
Has God ever called you to go back to a place where things were hard the last time? Have you been asked to revisit a place where you were attacked before?
I once got invited to come back to a church shortly after being at a camp with them where a person got angry with me over a minor sporting event and things got out of control. “Well Lord, ok”. Then when I got there, the issue hadn’t blown over. While I was speaking the Lord told me to do something. He told me to give my check to that person. You should know at this moment, coming out of a natural break in my schedule as an evangelist, I hadn’t worked in 6 weeks. This was my first check in 6 weeks. Ultimately, I did what God told me to do. The person didn’t want it, but I gave it anyway, publicly, and told them God told me to, and just to pray and ask God what to do with it. Then I had to go home and explain to my wife what I had just done, which of course she said, “maybe he needed it.”
Well the disciples said, “Jesus is this a good idea?” And Jesus response is a bit cryptic at first, v9 “aren’t there twelve hours in a day? If anyone walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the LIGHT OF THE WORLD” (emphasis mine). Later he explains, “Lazarus is dead… let’s go to him” and Thomas replies, “let’s go too so that we may DIE WITH HIM”. Not sure if he was expecting to die with Lazarus or with JESUS. But “let’s go”.
What does it mean to “walk in the day”. I don’t think it means from 06:00 to 18:00. It means to walk in the “light of the world” the “light of God”.
1 John 1:7 says, “if we walk in the light we have fellowship… the blood of Jesus cleanses”
Isaiah 2:5 says “come let us walk in the Lord’s light”
Psalm 56:13 “you rescued me to walk before God in the Light”
Psalm 89:15 “happy are the people who know the joyful shout; Lord they walk in the light of your face” – what is the joyful shout? “Jesus Saves”
Isaiah 9:2 “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light“
John 8:12 “I Am the light of the World”
are you with me? Jesus IS the Light. He doesn’t just contain light, give light, he IS Light. If we walk in HIS revelation, we can trust where we are going. But often he doesn’t “shine” light on everything, just the area he wants obedience, “Let’s go to Judea”. That was the only light he was giving them at first. He didn’t tell them the whole situation, or what he was going to do. Yes, an Amazing thing was going to happen. Perhaps the greatest act, before the Cross and Resurrection, was Jesus raising Lazarus. They were going to see the high point. And yet that High Point was also going to bring about renewed effort to KILL him, which was a LOW point for Him and a HIGH Point for all of us who would receive.
They had no idea what he was going to do, what would happen, maybe they will kill us… but if “failure” is the result of OBEDIENCE, then it is never failure, it is following in faithful obedience, and he will say “well done.”
That Wednesday night, I gave some money to a student, and went home with the satisfaction of obedience, and didn’t give it a second thought. Flash Forward 4 years. I was speaking at a Youth Camp. One Evening outside, I heard a voice say, “Pastor Jim can I talk to you.” The person was shadowed in the night. I came over, and stepped into the light and saw the face of that young man from 4 years before. He looked at me and said “I don’t know if you know who I am…” I said, “Yes I know who you are.” And then he said, “The last 4 years have been for this moment… You were right, I was wrong, I’m sorry, but you should know that God has called me into the ministry and I’m in school studying to be a youth minister.”
Yes Lord, where you go, I’ll go
“Let’s go too, so that we may die with him.”