This chapter is about the resurrection of Lazarus and the decision of the Pharisees that they would capture Jesus and put him to death.
As I was reading this chapter I found it very hard to believe that one was made risen from the dead, particularly after having been dead for four days. However, I was touched to read examples of the power of faith and devotion here.
From a spiritual point of view this is a touching story of undivided faith and receiving God’s mercy or pardon. In my understanding Lazarus upon his resurrection received pardon for his ‘sins’ or karmas. He became free. Jesus, the living teacher of the time, the anchor of the Holy Spirit, asked God to forgive Lazarus’ sins so he can become free and living again. As Jesus says ”Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
Jesus, firstly, asked the sisters if they “believed on him” and both of them answered by “falling down at his feet”.
In my opinion, Jesus rewarded their conviction and devotion to the Lord by granting them everlasting life that is displayed in the parable of Lazarus’ awakening.
At the beginning, there was a little ‘misunderstanding’ about the fact if Lazarus was asleep or dead.
”If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
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 of rest in sleep.
Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”
Jesus here refers to Lazarus as a man who is ‘asleep’ later he says that Lazarus is actually dead as if he had gradually moved from a sleepy state into a state of the dead. Figuratively speaking, it is as if the light had gone out in him that Jesus was about to go and restore. Beforehand Jesus also mentions that the one who sees the light of the world never stumbles or, in my understanding, never dies.
Also, when the disciples warned Jesus not to go to see Lazarus and his sisters because they feared him being captured, Jesus responds by reminding them that as long as one sees the light, one has nothing to fear.
Regarding this chapter Beas emphasizes that “the Master comes to awaken us from this slumber… he guides us all the way back to the Father, but only if we have absolute faith in him … The Master helps us to “rise again” and takes us back to Him.”
Beas says that ”Even though you may be dead as far as the Lord is concerned, says Christ, if you have faith in me I will resurrect you from this spiritual death and put you on the path. When you are on the path, you are ‘living’, and if you continue to have faith in me, you shall never die.”
Interestingly, it is also the chapter where the Pharisees led by Caiaphas finally decide to issue a law by which they would capture and later crucify Jesus. To me it felt as if the very moment when followers and believers of Jesus started to get free the World became fearful with its limited view and decided to diminish the liberator. The sacrifice of many saints are sad examples of such ignorance throughout history.