Jesus and the disciples receive some troubling news: “Lazarus—whom you love—has fallen ill.” Jesus responds by doing…nothing. For several days! Jesus’ disciples believe that he is motivated by concern for his own safety in Lazarus’ home town, and they are relieved, until suddenly Jesus gets up and tells them he is going to Bethany, to Lazarus’ home, to “awaken” his good friend. Fearing the crowds who recently tried to stone Jesus, the disciples tell him, “We should just let Lazarus sleep, he needs the rest.” But Jesus isn’t going to a hospital or sick room. He is taking a walk to the cemetery.
Along the way, there are the questions—why didn't you come sooner, when it might have made a difference? When you have the power to open blind eyes, why didn’t you heal Lazarus? How are we supposed to maintain our faith in the face of death’s permanence? How can the promise of rising on the ‘last day’ ever compensate for my tears?
It’s a powerful, moving, emotional journey, whenever we make a walk to the cemetery with Jesus. But in the midst of this powerful time, an overwhelming truth emerges: even in the midst of death, through Christ we are in life. Lazarus, and indeed all who receive the living Word in Jesus, are able to come out the tomb because Jesus entered the tomb.
Due to technical difficulties, we were unable to capture an audio recording of this sermon.