The Disciples Warn Jesus About Going to Judea

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Jesus heard that Lazarus was sickness unto death and proposed to his disciples that they should return to Judea. His disciples were concerned as they knew how dangerous this would be (vv. 7-8). They remembered the previous conflicts with the rulers. Jesus calmed their fears by reminding them that He was on the Father’s schedule, and nothing could harm Him until His appointed time (vv. 9-10). To stray from God’s purpose is to walk in darkness but to remain in the direction that God has mapped out is to walk in the light (I Jn 1:6).

Jesus told them that Lazarus was asleep. The disciples wrongly interpreted Jesus’s words to mean that Lazarus had not died but was sleeping physically. Sleep, they thought, would be good for his illness (vv. 11-13). Then He told them that Lazarus was dead (vv. 14-15). This meant the disciples had the unique opportunity of having their faith strengthened. Raising Lazarus from the dead was our Lord’s greatest miracle, and the one that aroused the most response from both His friends and His enemies. Lazarus had been in the grave four days, so this miracle could not be denied or avoided by the Jewish leaders.


When our Lord announced that He was returning to Judea, His disciples were alarmed, because they knew how dangerous it would be. However, Jesus was willing to lay down His life for His friends (John 15:13). Thomas was a doubting man, but we must confess that he was a devoted man (v. 16). We may not admire his faith, but we can certainly applaud his loyalty and courage.


When I find myself confronted by disease, disappointment, delay, and even death, my only encouragement is the Word of God. I must live by faith and not by sight.

John 11:7-16 (English Standard Version)

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