Journal John 11 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “After saying these things, (Jesus) said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” (Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep.)
Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died—and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him…” John 11:11-15
Observation: Can the disciples be more obtuse? Could they follow the nuances and hints that Jesus provided? Were they really a group of 12 mules that needed to be hit with a two by four often so that they would “get it?”
Apparently. And am I any different?
Analysis: Many times, I get a kick out of what the Holy Spirit drops in my imaginative heart as a picture of what may have happened. Note that I am not trying to take away from the Scriptures, but just imagine…
Scene: Jesus turns to his followers, his twelve buds and says that Lazarus has fallen asleep. Ok, everyone sleeps sometime during a 24-hour period more often than not. The disciples, obviously puzzled in some way, attempt to reassure Jesus that everything is ok, if Laz-baby was just sleeping, he is going to wake up…
This is what I imagine: Jesus, facing away towards Bethany, stops, hangs his head for a moment, then as he was raising his head again towards the skies, rolls his eyes and says, “Lazarus has died, guys…” perhaps thinking, “I will be glad when they finally develop the skill to read between the lines.”
Today for me, it was the utter delight in imagining how this tableau was working out—entertaining as all get out—also being very serious in realizing how the disciples were acting is probably the very same way I act. Maybe not every day, but most likely more days than I am willing to admit.
Delight is the right word. I delight in seeing the same old story afresh—not changed, but broadened, made more real, more embraceable—and more deadly serious. When I delight in the Word of God, it not only makes me happy, content, and satisfied…it also narrows my eyes, sets my jaw, squares my shoulders, knowing that because the Gospel (shown through this section of Scripture) alerts me to the Kingdom is close at hand.
Readers: Delight in the Word of God. The Bible can be read and read and read over and over again. It can be studied. It can be memorized. But these actions and tasks don’t lead to Delight!! Apply yourselves in looking to delight in the Word of God. Ask for help from the Holy Spirit. Dial up an Elder or Deacon for assistance. That’s what they are appointed for.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to grow in delight of your Word. I want to laugh, frown, be fierce and passionate. I want to dance, shout in joy, hang my head in meditation and, when appropriate, shameful gladness, grateful for your Mercy every day.
I don’t want to read for somebody else; I want to read like every last word was written for me, about me, and for my education, growth, and to pursue maturity in You.
Ricky Two Shoes