John 11:14-16 Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

What kind of a disciple are you – that is, how do you follow Jesus? You do follow Jesus, don’t you? Here’s what I mean: in this text we have various kinds of disciples –

  1. the cautious disciple – don’t you remember that last time we were in Judea they tried to kill you?
  2. The true believer – let’s get going, even if it means our death
  3. The grieving but hopeful disciple – if you were only here, you could have taken care of this, but even now I know that God will give you what you ask for.
  4. The grieving, questioning disciple – if you had only been here… why didn’t you come?
  5. Those who may yet become disciples.

Each kind of person needs to find a Savior who cares for them, and speaks to their concerns. For example, the cautions disciple isn’t scolded for weak faith, they are instead reminded of the greater purpose (doing God’s work) – while hiding from all danger may appear safe, it doesn’t do what needs to be done – if you are doing God’s work, you need to trust that God will provide. If you believe, its hard to question the goodness of God, especially when you see his grace first hand.

A true believer follows because that is who thy are – even if they don’t understand, they follow. But sometimes they loose sight of the hope and the joy – the savior does not scold the sourpuss followers, instead he restores their hope, that is he gives them something to believe in, to hold onto that overcomes a negative attitude. It may look like a sad story at the start, but it has a joyful ending.

The grieving disciples, really don’t want to know why you weren’t there, they need to be comforted, and the first part of this comfort is to grieve with them, the loss is real and painful – it doesn’t help to say – "Cheer up!" But there is no false comfort, even those who watched could see how Jesus was moved, he really cares, he really loves.

It is then that the miracle happens, and in it each one sees something that they need to see, something that reminds them of God’s love and God’s plan, something that comforts them and gives them hope. If it was unheard of for someone to heal a man born blind, then what of the raising of the dead? Not just a resuscitation that gets the heart beating again – that is common enough. But someone who has already been in the tomb 4 days, someone who is dead and gone – And Jesus looking to heaven, prays, and then calls "Lazarus come out." And he comes out – he had been dead, and is still wrapped for burial, and so Jesus tells them to loose him from his bindings. What an amazing thing – the power of God, a savior able to conquer death, a friend who morns with us, and consoles us. Something for everyone.

So much so, that some of the people, who have now seen the compassionate power of God, strong to save, who had not believed before – believe now. That is, they become disciples, they come to learn, they come to follow, they tell their friends. How God provides everything that is needed.

I said there was something for everyone – for though it was a great miracle, not everyone believed – some felt threatened. If everyone follows Jesus, who will follow us, this is what gathered the leaders of the Jews – and their leader, came up with the plan – it is expedient for one man to die to save the people. And from that day onward they began to plot as to how they might put Jesus to death.

We come to the word to find the comfort, strength and wisdom that comes from God that can guide us through all of life. We come to the word to find the compassionate, caring savior – who loves us, and weeps with us, and is able to comfort and to provide. We come confessing our sins, and in our savior we find forgiveness and peace and a faith which carries us.