17 Then Jesus came and found that he had already been in the tomb four days.
There were many occasions in my childhood when I was asked to do something, but which I thought was impossible. Like many other children I uttered those words: ‘but I can’t’, only to be told by my parents that there is no such word as ‘can’t’. In the circumstances they may have been right, but in my mind I was right.
It probably took Jesus and His disciples two days to make the journey from the North of Galilee to Bethany. On His arrival He finds a situation that by human standards was impossible.
Most likely the disciples would have been of the opinion that with Lazarus having been four days in the tomb they were in an impossible situation.
However, they had been in similar situations before, particularly when they were in the boat on the Sea of Galilee and a storm blew up. Then they feared for their lives. The boat was sinking and survival seemed impossible. In the circumstances they cried out to Jesus who was asleep in the stern of the boat: 26)“Teacher, are You not concerned that we perish?” 27) And being woken up He rebuked the wind and said to the sea: “Be calm, remain quiet.” And the wind stopped raging and a great calm came” – Mark 4.26-27.
It was an event that saw them rescued from the impossible.
They had witnessed first-hand the impossibility of 5000 men being fed from five small loaves and two fishes.
So maybe, when they arrived at Bethany and discovered that Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days they did not see it as an impossible situation. Maybe it wasn’t a ‘can’t’ situation.
Jesus had not led them up a dead end, but had led them into a situation that was going to glorify Himself and the Father, whilst causing the disciples to believe in Him even more.
We all face those situations that Jesus leads us into when we feel we have no other response than ‘I can’t’. However, those two words are not the words of faith.
What Jesus leads us into we can do. Paul wrote: I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need – Philippians 4.13 (NLT).