October 4, 2020
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
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. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
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.”
His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
This thing is coming apart at the seams. No one wants to go anywhere near Jerusalem. It’s probably not the wisest choice for Jerusalem’s most wanted to show his face even as near as the next town over.
Jesus doesn’t regard the risk. Love does not see risk. Nor does love see reward. Love only sees people and acts with abandon.
“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
One day Jesus is in full-retreat mode and the next he is headed right back to the firing range. How do we explain this? Remember what the text told us yesterday? “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5).
Soon we will hear Jesus distill all of the truth and wisdom of Scripture into a single command, “Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:12–13). Love does not calculate. Love does not count the risk or weigh the reward. Love pays no attention to self-interest, only the interest of the loved one.
It brings to mind Paul’s celebrated word from 1 Corinthians 13: “[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (vv. 7-8).
We likely know John 3:16. Chances are we don’t know 1 John 3:16. It reads, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
How can we do this? We can’t. That’s where the gospel comes in. Jesus can and he will and he does–through us–if only we will yield our lives to him.
John 3:16 reminds me I am loved. First John 3:16 reminds me I am love.
Come, Holy Spirit!
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who calls us beyond ourselves, challenges us beyond our ability, and changes our nature to be like him, who is love. And all of this by the power of your Spirit for the glory of your name and for the sake of your people. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
1. How often do you come to the end of your capacity to love?
2. Where does your love for others go? Where does it ruin your self-interest?
3. Are you ready and willing for your capacity to love to be expanded by Jesus’ capacity to love through you?
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