Lazarus (4) Why Tarry?

Why would Jesus tarry in healing someone who called for Him?


John 11:6 – When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.


If one reads the account of Lazarus in John 11 casually, it would appear that Jesus tarried after hearing Lazarus was sick.  That would seem heartless, even cruel.  Imagine what would happen if when an ambulance received a 911 dispatch, the driver decided to wait for a few hours to he could finish his dinner and allow a short time for digestion.  But in the case of Lazarus, one needs to do more than simply give this event a casual read.  One must watch this story play out with all the known details in place.  Let’s examine the time frame of the events.

DAY ONE – Lazarus was sick, and one of the household servants was dispatched to go to Jesus and ask Him to come heal Lazarus.  Jesus was a full day’s journey away.  By the time the servant got to Jesus, a full travel day had passed.  Oh, and one more thing – before the servant ever go to Jesus, Lazarus had died.  So when the servant reached Jesus, his information was already incorrect.  Lazarus was NOT sick, he was dead.  While no one else knew this, Holy Spirit did, and He informed Jesus.  So what appears to be a delay in coming to help Lazarus was not a delay.  Since healing alone would not be sufficient to help a dead body, and Jesus being one who was not moved by situations, He did not delay.  He simply used the time to put things in order for His arrival in Bethany.

DAY TWO – While the Scriptures do not give us details of Jesus’ activities, because we know His lifestyle, we know He was spending time with Father to receive full Spiritual guidance for His coming actions.

DAY THREE – By now, Lazarus had already been dead three days.  Jesus knew it was time to go to Bethany.  He told His disciples that Lazarus was asleep.  He also acknowledged the fact that Lazarus had died, but keep in mind, the fact that one had died does not mean one is dead.  Jesus died, but He is NOT dead. 

Tomorrow I shall come to DAY FOUR, but today, I want to make this very strong point.  Jesus did not delay His coming to help Lazarus.  He knew upon the servant’s arrival that Lazarus was already dead, and by the Spirit, He knew WHAT He should do WHEN He should do it, and that is precisely what Jesus did.  So many people want to place major emphasis on how long Lazarus was dead.  While it is an important part of this incident, the main point should be that life always triumphs over death.  Once physical death has come, time is no longer a factor considered by the Lord.  When Jesus comes, it makes no difference if a Christian has been dead three days, four days, 70-years, or 2,000-years (as with the Apostle Peter), the dead in Christ shall rise.  That, my friend, is the end of that part of the story.  Life ALWAYS triumphs over death. 

Manna for Today – John 11:1-46; Romans 8:14