His sisters sent to him saying: Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. -John xi. 3.
Three things here call for thought.
1. God’s friends are from time to time afflicted in the body. It is not, therefore, in any way a proof that a man is not a friend of God that he is from time to time sick and ailing. Eliphaz argued falsely against Job when he said, Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished being innocent ? or when were the just destroyed? (Job iv. 7).
The gospel corrects this when it says, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick, and the Book of Proverbs, too, where we read, For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth: and as a father in the son he pleaseth himself (Prov. iii. 12).
2. The sisters do not say, “Lord, come and heal him.” They merely explain that Lazarus is ill, they say, He is sick. This is to remind us that, when we are dealing with a friend, it is enough to make known our necessity, we do not need to add a request. For a friend, since he wills the welfare of his friend as he wills his own, is as anxious to ward off evil from his friend as he is to ward it off from himself. This is true most of all in the case of Him who, of all friends, loves most truly. The Lord keepeth all them that love him (Ps. cxliv. 20).
3. These two sisters, who so greatly desire the cure of their sick brother, do not come to Christ personally, as did the centurion and the man sick of the palsy. From the special love and familiarity which Christ had shown them, they had a special confidence in Him. And, possibly, their grief kept them at home, as St. Chrysostom thinks. A friend if he continue steadfast, shall be to thee as thyself, and shall act with confidence among them of thy household (Ecclus. vi. 11). (In John xi.)