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The story of Lazarus, IV
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Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.

John 11:6-10 Our story of the man called Lazarus continues in John 11:6.

Turning point has now been reached. While Martha and Mary, sisters of the deceased Lazarus, continue in the depths of grief, our Lord now announces to the disciples that the time has come for travelling. He is ready to proceed to Judaea, the province where Bethany lay, and where the two sisters were grappling with the reality of life without their brother.

The disciples were immediately horrified. They quickly, and probably not quietly, reminded Jesus that the Jews were now ready to kill Him by stoning. Living under the constant shadow of death must be a frightening thing. The disciples knew if they were arrested with Jesus, they might well suffer the same consequence. They were not yet ready to give up eating their fish and bread, sleeping in warm beds and basking in the love of the crowds which sought them out daily. Probably we would have felt the same!

Jesus now revealed another truth to them in this teaching moment. “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. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him” (John 11:9-10). Strange words that do not seem to fit the conversation.

Just take a moment and seek to understand. Our Lord’s time on earth was coming to an end. He had only a little time left to work (represented by the 12 hours in the day). The night represented the time after death when it would be too late to work. He had a mission to fulfill, and no threat or other obstacle could be allowed to stop the work of the Lord.

He was not afraid of the threats of the Jews. He did not fear death. He plainly told them that no man could take His life from Him (John 10:18). There were times when they probably wanted to (John 7:30, 8:20), but would not lay hands on Him. Why? It was not God’s time. Jesus knew no one could kill Him, by stoning or any other method, until God’s plan called for it. The method of death also had to be crucifixion. There were several attempts to murder Jesus, for instance, by pushing Him off a precipice (Luke 4:29). Nothing worked until it was time in the Father’s will for Christ to go to the cross. Right now it was time to go see about Lazarus!

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