The Disciples Warn Jesus About Going to Judea

Imagine if the highway department only wanted to put up highway signs that made people feel good about driving. Instead of speed limit signs with a number, they would say something like, “Whatever seems right to you.” Gone would be any signs indicating potential danger … More

When Jesus heard about Lazarus sickness unto death and proposed to the disciples that they should return to Judea, His disciples were concerned because they knew how dangerous this would be (vv. 7-8). They remembered the previous conflicts with the rulers. He 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 tells them that Lazarus is asleep, which the disciples wrongly assumed, meant Lazarus had not died, but was sleeping physically and this 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 has 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)

Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?" Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." After saying these things, he said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him." The disciples said to him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

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