A runner finds Jesus preaching and healing the sick. The apostles are all with Him as He is making His way to Jerusalem for Passover, although they have not realised He was on His way to Jerusalem. He is not far from Bethany, just south of Jerusalem near the Mount of Olives.
The runner tells Jesus to come quickly to Bethany, to the house of His dear friend Lazarus as he is so ill he looks close to death.
Jesus simply doesn’t rush. He doesn’t jump up and go and see Lazarus, neither does He do as He did for the centurion’s servant and “say the word”. By the time they are heading for Bethany, He has to bluntly tell the apostles that Lazarus is dead.
In the end we know that Jesus is going to raise Lazarus before many witnesses just before He enters Jerusalem to face His Passion.
It is the only time in Christ’s public ministry where He (at first) appears not to answer a prayer – but instead seems to say no, or not answer at all. In the end there is something amazing, that no one could have expected. Perhaps we need to remember that when our prayers don’t seem to be answered.