Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, was sick. Jesus was informed of his condition, but He delayed for two days His trip to Bethany where Lazarus lived. Before the Lord arrived, Lazarus had died. Martha, who met the Lord, chastised Him for not being there before her brother’s death.
The two sisters, Mary and Martha, and Lazarus were siblings. They believed in Christ as Lord despite their distress at His delay in coming to help them. Martha makes a confession of her belief when she meets Jesus upon the way to the tomb.
Christ, the resurrection and the life, brought Lazarus back from death. Lazarus’ resuscitation points to the resurrection of the dead that Jesus by His death and resurrection makes possible.
The blind man in John 9 encounters Jesus who heals him. Despite intense opposition from the synagogue, the blind man declares Jesus as Son of Man, a high christological title in John. In John 1 Jesus says, “Truly, truly I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”(John 1: 51 ESV) The blind man becomes a believer. He sees the light. The cost for his belief was being thrown out of the synagogue.
In John 5 Jesus heals an invalid at the pool of Siloam. Unlike the blind man he does not make a confession of faith in Christ. He avoids any conflict with the religious leaders when they ask him about his healing. Here there is no belief and no confession before others. This situation stands in contrast to the story of the blind man in John 9 and the raising of Lazarus in John 11. In these three stories we travel from non-belief, to coming to belief, to believing in Christ as Lord.
Throughout the Gospel of John in encounters with Jesus people believe or do not believe. This is the choice all people must make when they encounter the Lord. In our witness and defense of the faith some may believe; others will not. Even if we see no evidence of conversion in our encounter with others, we are not to give up hope. A person may be converted now or in the future, because Jesus revealed HImself through us. We must be obedient to Christ who calls us to witness. The focus should always be doing the Lord’s will, not our success. Christ will harvest the fruits of our labor on his behalf. We need not worry.
The brief dialogues that Jesus has with those healed are models for our own encounter with others. The Word of God we speak is the means for the Holy Spirit to change the heart of the unbeliever.
Michael G. Tavella
May 18, 2020
Erik, King of Sweden, Martyr, 1160