The Youth’s Instructor


April 6, 1899

The Resurrection of Lazarus

Part 2.


“When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” This delay was a mystery to the disciples. What a comfort his presence would be to the family in the severe affliction through which they are passing, the disciples thought. Christ loves all the human family, but to some he is bound by peculiarly tender recollections. His heart was knit by a strong bond of affection to the family at Bethany; and knowing this, the disciples were surprised that he did not respond to the sad message, “He whom thou lovest is sick.” Had Christ's love changed?—No, no! and had Mary and Martha thought it had, they would have misjudged that tender, pitiful heart of human and divine love. It was for them and for his disciples that he tarried where he was for two days apparently leaving the afflicted ones to bear their burden alone. YI April 6, 1899, par. 1

During this time Christ seemed to dismiss the message from his mind; for he did not speak of Lazarus. The disciples thought of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. At the time of his death, they had wondered why Jesus, with the power to perform wonderful miracles, had permitted John to languish in prison, and die a violent death. Possessing such power, why did not Christ save John's life? This question had often been asked by the Pharisees, who presented it as an unanswerable argument against Christ's claim to be the Son of God. YI April 6, 1899, par. 2

But Christ did not forget John. In the lonely prison he manifested himself to him, showing him that erelong he himself was to suffer a most shameful, ignominious death. Not only that, but he was to bear the penalty of the transgression of the law of God, not to give men liberty to continue in sin, but to take away their inclination to sin, that they might not desire to transgress. Those who receive Christ are obedient to his commands; for his mind is given to them. He imbues them with his spirit of obedience, and they return to their loyalty. YI April 6, 1899, par. 3

Christ's two days’ delay after hearing that Lazarus was sick was not a neglect or a denial on his part. It was his purpose to remain where he was till the death of Lazarus took place, that he might give the people an evidence of his divinity, not by restoring a dying man, but by raising to life a man that had been buried. YI April 6, 1899, par. 4

This should be an encouragement to us. We are sometimes tempted to think that the promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you,” is not fulfilled unless the answer comes immediately when the request is made. It is our privilege to ask for special blessings, and to believe that they will be given us. But if the blessings asked for are not immediately granted, we are not to think that our prayers are not heard. We shall receive, even if the answer is delayed for a time. In carrying out the plan of redemption, Christ sees enough in humanity to discourage him. But he does not become discouraged. In mercy and love he continues to offer us opportunities and privileges. So we are to rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. The answer to our prayers may not come as quickly as we desire, and it may not be just what we have asked; but he who knows what is for the highest good of his children will bestow a much greater good than we have asked, if we do not become faithless and discouraged. YI April 6, 1899, par. 5

After waiting for two days, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go into Judea again.” The disciples were perplexed by these words. If Jesus were going to Judea, why had he waited two days? They could see nothing but danger in the course he was about to pursue. “Master,” they said, “the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day?” I am under the guidance of my Father, and as long as I do his will, my life is safe. My twelve hours of day are not yet ended. I have entered upon the last remnant of my day; but while any of this remains, I am safe. YI April 6, 1899, par. 6

“If any man walk in the day,” he continued, “he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.” He who does the will of God, who walks in the path that God has marked out, can not stumble and fall. The light of God's guiding Spirit gives him a clear perception of his duty, and leads him aright till the close of his work. “But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” He who walks in a path of his own choosing, where God has not called him, who ventures presumptuously into danger, doing that which the Lord has not bidden him do, will stumble, because he has compassed himself about with the sparks of his own kindling. For him day is turned into night; and wherever he may be, he is not secure. YI April 6, 1899, par. 7

“These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; and I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.” “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth!” How touching these words! How full of sympathy! In the thought of the peril their Master was about to incur by going to Jerusalem, the disciples had almost forgotten the bereaved family, at Bethany. But not so Christ. The disciples felt rebuked. They had been disappointed because Christ did not respond more promptly to the message. They had been tempted to think that he had not the tender love for Lazarus and his sisters that they had thought he had, or he would have hastened back with the messenger. But the words, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth,” awakened right feelings in their minds. YI April 6, 1899, par. 8

“Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking rest in sleep.” Christ represents death as being a sleep to his believing children. Their life is hid with Christ in God; and until the last trump shall sound, those who die will sleep in him. YI April 6, 1899, par. 9

“Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.” Thomas could see nothing but death in store for his Master if he went to Judea; but he girded up his spirit, and said to the other disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” He knew the hatred of the Jews toward Christ. It was their purpose to compass his death, but this purpose had not succeeded, because some of his allotted time still remained. During this time, Jesus had the guardianship of heavenly angels; and no bodily harm could come to him, even in the regions of Judea, where the rabbis were plotting how they might take him and put him to death. YI April 6, 1899, par. 10

“Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe.” The disciples marveled at these words. Did the Saviour by his own choice avoid the home of his suffering friends? What sorrow Mary and Martha would have felt, thought the disciples, could they have heard these words! Knowing the love that Jesus had for Mary and Martha, the disciples were unable to explain his words on this occasion. YI April 6, 1899, par. 11

Mrs. E. G. White