[John 11:41-44 HCSB] 41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You heard Me. 42 I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me.” 43 After He said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out! ” 44 The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go.”
I’ve read this passage of Scripture many times through the years. Each time, I find myself intrigued by the various movements of the story; Jesus refusing to come immediately, His declaration that the sickness is not unto death and then telling the disciples that Lazarus had indeed died, Mary and Martha’s belief that Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had been there, Jesus weeping over the loss of his friend. Then, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. I could go on…
As I read the passage this time, something struck me that I had never noticed before. There was no record of rejoicing. None. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. How utterly unPentecostal! You would think they could have organized a small Jericho March, a hanky-wave, a shofar-blowing celebration. But, there is no record of a celebration at all. Nothing in Matthew, Mark, or Luke. Only John wrote about this miraculous resurrection.
The majority of the text speaks of the relationships, delays, faith… Jesus obviously delayed so that a spiritual point could be made. So that trust could be solidified. There are many angles to be considered.
You want to know what I think? (Sure you do. After all, you are reading this!) I think there was a celebration. I think they did rejoice over this miraculous resurrection. Maybe Jesus, Lazarus, Martha and Mary went to the house and had a cup of coffee together! Jesus would have explained the purpose of the delay, and the specific words He spoke for the benefit of the gathered crowd. They probably laughed, talked about the good old days, and expressed genuine gratitude for a beautiful future. But, we will never know! Because there is no record of anything that happened after the resurrection.
So, what is the take away? Simply this. While thanksgiving and praise is always appropriate, it is not always the main thing. The work that Jesus did was the main thing. And, by omitting the reference to any type of human response, the spotlight stayed right where it belonged. On Jesus. Sometimes, there are simply no words…
PRAYER: Father, the work you are doing is, at times, indescribable. Though I may not be able to formulate adequate words, I acknowledge your purposes. I will praise you, and always make sure the spotlight remains on you! Amen.