Lazarus (John 11:17-44)
Jesus, my Friend,
I know you can hear me right now but I wish you were physically here so I can see you. I really need comfort. I am so very sick. I’ve never felt this terrible before. I feel like I am fading. It all happened so quickly. I am still trying to make sense of it all. One moment I was out in the fields, working hard and feeling strong. The next minute I felt horrible. We’ve tried everything, but I am growing weaker and weaker.
We have tried everything, cupping, blood-letting, we’ve tried all the tinctures and solutions that the village has. Even the old woman in the village gave me some things to drink, nothing helped.
I’m not asking for healing just for myself. People need me. With each passing hour, I grow more worried. I’m already so behind on my work, but now I lay here wondering what will happen to my family? Who will take care of Mary and Martha? They need me. Mary might go back to unspeakable things to survive. I can’t even stomach that.
I know I should have thought of you first. I’m worried that it’s too late now. Why don’t you come? Why don’t you heal me? I know you could. I’ve seen you heal others. What about me?
Your Sick Servant
My dear Lazarus,
I hear your cry for help, and it breaks my heart. Though there is trouble and sorrow in this life, I am right there with you through every moment. It isn’t what I want for you, and sickness is never what I intended for the world when it was created. But, you are not alone, even in the middle of the night when the pain is the worst and sleep evades you. Stretch your hand out to me. I’ve got you. Do not fear. I am here. Don’t be shocked. I will strengthen you and help you.
I know you are a hard worker. I was the one who set up all that work for you to do. You help and give so much of what you take away. I see every small gesture you make to bless others. My promise to you is to preserve your life. I have taken up your pain and bore your suffering. I will never leave you behind or ever forget about you. I have laid down my life for you.
Though sorrow may last for a night, there is great joy in the morning. I have already seen it. Even if you have to walk through death, I will never leave you. Trust me. I promise rest to all those who are weary and heavy-burdened. You are safe in my hands.
Your Heavenly Father
(Psalm 16:8, Ephesians 4:12, Psalms 119:149, 1 Peter 1:6)
1) Not everyone has experienced the pain of chronic illness or a disability. Still, we have all understood the feeling of knowing something is wrong with us. And not everything is as it should be. When is a time you might have felt lost, confused, or “off”?
2) Have you ever been healed physically. How did it feel during the sickness? Did healing come gradually or overnight? How did God provide for you during that time?
Read John 11:17-44 to complete the story.
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 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?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days. “Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”