In the book of John chapter 11, the Bible recounts the time when Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus was sick. The sisters sent word to Jesus of their brother’s illness, obviously expecting that Jesus would cancel all His plans and come to them right away. The scriptures tell us, “when he (Jesus) heard that he (Lazarus) was sick, he then stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” Why did Jesus wait two days? Didn’t he know the gravity of the situation? Didn’t he care? This is certainly not the case, for verse 5 clearly states, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”
After waiting two days Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” To which the disciples objected saying, “the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus gives a seemingly very strange and unrelated answer to there question, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” I suspect the disciples must have thought to themselves, “there are people trying to kill you Jesus, and your response to this threat is that if you walks in the day you will not stumble because you have light. But if you walk in the night you will stumble because you don’t have light! Jesus, what on earth are you talking about?” At fist glance Jesus answer seems strange indeed. But after deeper review I see that Jesus response is a lesson to us on how to live our lives in these uncertain and perilous days.
Before I proceed, [if you dare] try a little experiment with me. Closes your eyes tightly, get up from your chair, and walk through your house, (no peeking) now go outside, down your driveway and get into your car. You will find that this simple and familiar task can be a very treacherous journey when taken in the dark. You risk running your head into the door. You might trip over your spouse’s shoes or the kid’s toys. You may misstep and fall off the stairs, slip on the ice in the driveway, or trip over the cat. Now open your eyes and try it again. You easily avoid the door. You go around the shoes and step over the toys. You quickly descend the stairs while sidestepping the ice and the cat. All dangers easily avoided or overcome. When we walk in the light we can see where we are going and can easily avoid or overcome the obstacles in our way. However, when we walk in the darkness we are in danger of running into or stumbling over even the simplest of obstacles.
I believe that this principle is what Jesus was teaching his disciples. Because Jesus was walking in the light, being led by the Spirit, he didn’t need to fear the Jewish leaders attempts to kill him or that he would arrive too late to meet Lazarus’s need. For as long as he followed the Spirit's light and leading, his timing would always be perfect, thus bringing the most glory to God concerning his friend Lazarus, while at the same time avoiding the Jew's traps to kill him. If Jesus was to rush to Lazarus based on his emotions alone, without regard to the Spirit's leading, he would be walking into the dark, not knowing what lay ahead, and not having the Spirit going ahead of him preparing the way. Jesus taught that If we are walking after the flesh timing doesn't matter, but if we are walking in the Spirit timing is everything. "Jeus told them, The right time for me has not come; for you any time is right." John 7:6
As followers of Christ, we “can’t” see what dangers and traps lay ahead of us. But If we, like Jesus, will pray and wait upon God, so that we too are led by the Spirit, we can confidently know that the Spirit will go ahead of us, into the unknown, and clear the path for us. He will pick up the shoes and the toys that are strewn in our way so we won‘t be tripped up. He will guide us past the closed doors and through the open ones. He will lead us by the hand down the stairs, over the ice, and do so at a time when the cat is sleeping in the chair.
As we learn to be led by the Spirit, we will become “Indiana Jones Christians.” What I mean by that is this; thou there are traps, snares, and dangers all around us, we can confidently proceed forward knowing the Spirit is ahead preparing the way, and lighting each new step we take. Like Indiana Jones, we will pass through the pit filled with vipers and yet live to see another day. We will dodge the rolling boulder coming to crush us, avoid all the poison arrows meant to immobilize us, and step by step safely find the path across the bottomless pit. Then one day when we reach our journeys end, we like Indiana, will see and touch for ourselves the most glorious treasure known to man. Jesus Christ himself!
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psm.34:19
“You shall not fear the terror of night not the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. If you make the Most High your dwelling even the Lord, who is my refuge--then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways…You will tread upon the lion and the cobra: you will trample the great lion and the serpent…With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psm 91:5-7, 9-11, 13, 16