“Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” John 11.9-16
Jesus has the power to raise the dead to life. In the previous chapter in John, Jesus says, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10.17-18) So when Jesus is approaching Lazarus, who is dead and not asleep, he has full confidence in restoring life to him.
The disciples, on the other hand, are quite confused. Thomas especially, who pledges his life to go die with him– a noble gesture but unnecessary. Jesus has to explain to them that what he means as being asleep is actually death. Make no mistake about it, Lazarus is dead. Jesus waited long enough for him to die so that the disciples may believe when he is raised from the dead.
In this passage Jesus also speaks about twelve hours of day light and how anyone who walks in the “daytime will not stumble, for they see by this worlds light.” This is in reference to Jesus returning to the region of Jerusalem even when there are people seeking his own death. But, it could also be in reference to the imminent healing of Lazarus.
Jesus walks in the daylight and lives according to the ways of the Lord. He has the power to heal, perform miracles, and raise people from the dead because there is no sin within him. This reminds me of this passage in John 14.12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” Those who believe, who walk in the light, will do even greater things than Jesus! We too have the power to perform miraculous deeds for the glory of the Father.
Jesus was on his way to see Lazarus, a dead man by all accounts. He believed and did incredible work for the Lord. How too shall we who also embody his Spirit, who follow Jesus, will by faith perform similar works for the glory of God and the sake of the world?
“O Lord God, my Lord and my king- you are just and right in all you do. Thank you for loving me, for setting before me an example of holiness, purity and power. Come now, Holy Spirit, live within your followers! Allow us the power of your works so the world might believe. Come now, Jesus my Savior, cover me with your blessings. Help me to be your witness in a world that ignores your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen