Signs and Wonders

So Jesus deliberately allows Lazarus to die so the miracle will be more dramatic.

Now as someone who reads scripture as constructed narrative I know this was not the intended sense of this passage. This was to demonstrate the power of God through Jesus — to establish Christian claims against the unreasonable Jews. To inspire faith and commitment.

But as a modern reader. I cannot escape it. Jesus allowed Lazarus – his friend to die. So the miracle would look good in front of mourners and other witnesses.

And it is hard not to apply this to my own life situation(s). Feeling stuck and in a cul de sac. Waiting for a miracle while I wrestle with my own grave clothes. And I know change is inevitable. I know there will be resurrections and other deaths and other lives. That’s how life works.

But what this passage seems to be saying from the muddle of all that is delays in the inevitable change in the wind is so I’ll feel more grateful when it happens. And knowing that and knowing me — it will likely have the opposite effect.

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6 responses

  1. Are you up for a challenge? Here goes:Maybe Jesus allowed Lazarus to die of natural causes because to die from this dimension isn’t something to be rescued from, to be prevented at all costs. Maybe Jesus allowed this, not so it would look good, but because this is the way of the natural order of things, and that our physical lives here are not something to cling to, and death is not something to fear.It could be that resurrection is about having a deceased loved one raised up to continue to live in our hearts, in a more ultimate dimension, with our unique memory of this person and a particular knowing of love, Inward Light, and grace this person held.

  2. David – wow, a good post! Waiting for a miracle while I wrestle with my own grave clothes. And I know change is inevitable. I know there will be resurrections and other deaths and other lives…. great insight – that sounds like me too. I often think of an old song (Moody Blues) that says … I’m waiting for someone to change my life, I’m waiting for a miracle in my life.Meredith – interesting take on why Jesus let Lazarus die. But, he did heal lots of people … perhaps they weren’t at death’s door, though. It makes me wonder about those others he raised from the dead … the little girl and the son of the widow.

  3. Meredith’s Solution: You go behind John’s gospel and ask why Jesus would let Lazarus die. That is to say, Jesus as presented by John gives the reason why he let Lazaurus die:This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.Now John may be wrong. But John is all I have. My problem as it were is not with Jesus but with John’s witness. And the sort of Jesus John presents.I do feel with you that dying is a part of the natural order of things. It is also God’s gift for us. But I do cling to the physical. Life in a more ultimate dimension — but which excluded bodily life — would be a lesser life and not a fuller one for me. I do not see this life as a practice area for the real one.

  4. Well David, considering your comment to Meredith’s comment: it’s not either-or, but both-and. There is much glory in this life, but only a shadow of the glory of the life to come. This life makes us radiant creatures, more fully qualified to live eternally than the new born babe. I envision losing nothing of the natural life in the Beyond.I worry less about John’s intention than I used to. More important is God’s intention to me when I read his Living Bible. Meredith, I agree that the eternal dimension is the important thing to consider in reading John, or anything else for that matter.

  5. While its easy to be cynical and see Jesus’ waiting as manipulative, how is this any more manipulative than turning water into wine? By waiting for Lazarus to die, he is able to raise him from the dead so that others might believe. Also — we don’t know what he was doing, maybe his work during those days was something that he was required to do by God’s will, I’m assuming it was.I hear fear that Jesus is manipulative — to me its because we fear being manipulated by the Church. I have to get beyond that fear and focus on faith and belief and not fear. If I can’t read it without skeptism, I’m likely not to read it (which is probably why I haven’t written a post in awhile). Not something I’m recommending to others, just an explanation of why I’m not as involved as I was before.

  6. Hey Marjorie … I sometimes stop reading when I feel skeptical too. Once I read some gnostic gospels and a very odd one, the “secret” gospel of Mark – then I really fell down the rabbit hole and couldn’t pray for a couple of weeks.

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