In Plain English, Please?

John 11:1-16

“​1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6 after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10 But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” 11 After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” 13 Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” NRSV

These verses prepare us for the rest of the familiar, yet still wonderful story that follows. Two things to note. The disciples are shown, once again, to be clueless about the turns of phrases Jesus uses to describe his actions and purpose. His retort, “Lazarus is dead,” is one of the best examples of this in John’s gospel. It is rather like a patient hearing the doctor’s diagnosis in doctor speak and then responding, “In plain English, please, doc?” And the doctor responds, “You have six months to live.” That kind of simple clarity we all understand.

The second is the use of “day” and “night” to describe the life of those who follow Jesus (the light of day) and those who don’t (the darkness of night).

As one who walks by the light, be a blessing to someone today!

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