Session 6: Time to Wake Up

posted in: Gospel of John | 1

jesus movie-lazarusThis blog post is about John, Chapter 11.  Its title “Time to Wake Up” has multiple-meanings.  The first case is obvious, Jesus is going to wake up Lazarus and raise him from the dead.  It is based in prophecy found in Isaiah 26:19.

The second case is personal.  It is a command directed at you and all who would be Jesus’ disciples.  From the grave, or from your bed, or even from the surface of the earth, your perspective is myopic.  So, let’s open our eyes and start seeing things from a new broader perspective.  Can we even hope to consider things from God’s point of view?

“Time to Wake Up” also carries an eschatological warning from both Romans 13:11 and Revelation 3:2-3.  As Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus: “Wake up, O sleeper! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Lazarus was deathly ill and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, were worried.  They sent a messenger to their friend Jesus that “the one you love (phileo) is sick.”   They didn’t say, “Please come now!”  Instead, they appealed to love that should make Jesus return to them more quickly.

Despite Jesus’ agape love for the family (John 11:5), when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he intentionally stayed where he was two more days (v. 6).  For Jesus knew the reason for this sickness was for a demonstration of God’s glory over death (v. 4).  He went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

Back in Bethany, Lazarus died while the sisters waited for Jesus.  They called friends and relatives and officials to come to the funeral.  When all these people came, they all expressed their sorrow and frustration because of the power of death.  It seemed that the whole world was crying!

And when they heard that Jesus was coming, Martha went out to meet Him.  “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, NIV).  Do you place that limitation on the Lord? “If you had only been here.”  Where was God when my son was born prematurely?  Where was God when my wife had cancer?  Where was God at 9/11?  It appeared that Jesus came too late, even for the funeral.  Was Jesus really too late?

Then Martha said one more peculiar thing.  She said, “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (v. 22).  What was Martha saying?  I think she felt guilty about blaming Jesus, and she decided to express some faith.  Can we say to God, “Despite what I have experienced, and despite what my eyes have seen, I will trust you?”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

John had already recorded that Jesus claimed “I AM” (Grk. Ego Eimi) five times before. This was the response to Moses when he asked God, “When the Israelites ask the name of who sent me, what shall I say to them (Exodus 3:13-14).  When God’s people were in slavery in Egypt, “I AM” was there, and He was the power to release them and make them into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  When David was the youngest brother and a humble shepherd and was sure to be stomped by a giant, “I AM” was there to bring him victory and make his an everlasting kingdom.  When a single prophet of God, Elijah, stood against the crowds of demonically empowered false prophets of Baal, “I AM” was there to send the fire and to destroy the power of the devil.  And when the power of death seemed overwhelming, “I AM” was there to call out, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:41-43)   It’s time to wake up, my beloved.

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  1. Jeffrey Rehfeld

    As I read this and to apply this to my life, God has restored me to the land of the living. I was dead spiritually to God, the great “I AM,” and through trials. He has waken me to his Love and Life! 4 years ago I had an accident in my truck and I died physically. “I AM” brought me back to life and so much more, because of his grace and power. I live in his Love daily. No drugs or drinking or smoking. “I AM” Lives in me!!

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