When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:32-44, NRSV)
Did I not tell you if you believed you would see the glory of God?
So do you not believe?
This passage pushes the limits, but only if you understand society and customs and norms of Jesus’ day.
You see Jesus knew that Lazarus was going to die, but did not go and waited to go, so that Lazarus would be in the tomb for four days. You read that right, go back and read it again.
Did you see Martha said, “he has been dead four days and he stinks!” Now I can imagine a sister saying her brother stinks, but the point is the four days.
And what does it matter if it has been four days?
Well in Jesus day the belief was a person could seem dead, and within three days they could wake up. But on the fourth day they were really dead. So Lazarus was dead and not coming back. That is why Jesus was not there until the fourth day.
And Jesus told the people to unbind him, to let him go. Jesus gave him life and it is the communities job to unbind him and set him free. Jesus gives life and the community sets free.
So do you believe?