Reader: “Let us go back to Judea.”
Response: “but his disciples thought . . .”
Scripture: John 11:7-16
Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Reader: This is the word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
That little phrase is far too often descriptive of my response to the way of the Lord. “But Lord, I thought that . . .” Here we see the single-mindedness of Jesus. A couple of months prior to this during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), Jesus had to flee Judea and Jerusalem because the people wanted to stone him. Tension was definitely building. To this point, Jesus generally stayed out of the limelight and spent much time in the region of Galilee though it had become increasingly difficult to avoid notariety. As a result, he stayed away from Jerusalem and the Jewish hierarchy of leadership because it was not yet the Father’s time. His response here of “there are twelve hours in the daylight” was a way of telling the disciples God, his Father, had given him a task to do. Jesus was the “Light of the world,” which he had declared at the Feast of Dedication previously in the disciples’ presence. Those who had rejected him and threatened to stone him were walking in darkness. Jesus, the Light, was going back to Jerusalem to accomplish the Father’s will. The time was approaching for the completion of his earthly mission. The raising of Lazarus from the dead was part of his Father’s course of action so Jesus spells it out specifically for the disciples. In Thomas’ final comment, he still doesn’t get it completely, but speaks for the rest of the disciples. We’ll go and die with you! The next time you and I are tempted to respond, “Lord, but I thought . . .,” let’s listen to Moses’ words to the Israelites before crossing the Red Sea, “be still and watch the mighty hand of God.”
Music: “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” Deo Cantamus WOW! Beautiful!
Lord God in heaven, who knows all things, who understands all things, who has power over all things, who has created all things, who sustains all things, who loves all things, who is over all things, who is everywhere present, who has been revealed in Jesus Christ, who is present in the Holy Spirit, who has given his written word, who has made provision for the restoration of the whole created order, grant us one more thing: faith to trust you when we cannot understand your ways in this world. This we pray through Jesus Christ, who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.
― Daniel Sharp