You probably noticed my posting fiasco on Monday. Yeah, that update wasn’t ready to go live. Honestly, I may have to skip updates again this month. My second great-grandmother just died and my mother flew back to be with her family for the week. My sisters and I are rather busy being “Mum.” XD
So instead of an update, here’s some thoughts I’ve been having lately.
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I’ve been reading chronologically through the Bible—or more accurately, I’m being read to. I play the YouVersion audio recording as I do chores. I really love it. I find that sometimes I reflect better when I’m listening instead of reading. Anyhow, I was listening to John 11 today and the story struck me in a new light. I’ve been dealing with a lot of trials lately. I just lost both great-grandmothers. Lots of people I know are sick. Perhaps that helped me see things differently…
Anyhow, let’s see what the chapter says.
“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.”
Now this sick man isn’t just anybody. He’s Lazarus. He and his sisters are good friends of Jesus’. In fact, this passage says more than once that Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters. These people had done a lot for Jesus. Mary had poured the priceless perfume on Him. Martha had received Him in her house and had prepared a meal for Him and his disciples. They certainly weren’t bad people.
“When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was.”
….But when Jesus hears that this special man is sick, He doesn’t do anything.
Instead, He stayed where he was for four. whole. days.
And Lazarus died.
He’d been buried four days when Jesus finally shows up at Bethany.
So Mary and Martha are grieving for their brother, surrounded by comforters, and they hear that Jesus is there at last. So Martha goes meet him, broken and in tears.
And she greets him saying, “Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”
Jesus, if You’d just have come when we asked You to, this wouldn’t have happened.
We wouldn’t be hurting right now. Lazarus would be alive. All this situation wouldn’t exist.
And then Jesus tries to give her hope. “Thy brother shall rise again.”
But Martha thinks it’s all over. So she says, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Maybe she’s thinking, “Yeah, Lord, someday he’ll be alive again. But right now, he isn’t… and I’m hurting, and I’ve lost hope.”
So then Jesus reminds her Who He is. “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”
And then He asks gently, “Believest thou this?”
Do you believe I am Who I am?
And she says, “Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
Yes, she believes Who He is… but she still doesn’t believe her brother can come back to life.
’Cause it’s over, right?
So she goes call Mary, and Mary comes to Jesus and after her all the Jews come trailing after.
And Mary says the same thing Martha did: “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”
Why did You stay away, Jesus? Why didn’t You come when we needed You? Why didn’t You stop this from happening?
And then Jesus sees her weeping. And He sees the others around her weeping.
And “He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto Him, Lord, come and see.
“Then said the Jews, Behold how He loved him!”
Oh yes, Jesus loved this man. He loved these women. Their suffering broke His heart.
And so some of the Jews say, “Could not this Man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?”
Looks like Jesus missed an opportunity to display His power, hm?
So… “Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone.”
Jesus is getting ready to work. Moving away the stone. And then practical, worried Martha speaks up.
“Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.”
Really, Lord, You don’t want to do this. You don’t realize—
And Jesus says to her, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”
Martha, if you would just believe in Me instead of worrying, you will see the glory of God.
So He finally gets the stone moved away.
“Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me. And I knew that Thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me.
“And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
“And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.”
And the key to the whole story?
“When Jesus heard that [Lazarus was sick], He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”
Why did Lazarus die, if it hurt those who loved Jesus so much? Why did those women suffer, if it hurt Jesus so much?
Because of this:
“Could not this Man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?”
He did more than that.
He didn’t stop a man from getting sick.
Instead, He brought him back to life four days after he was dead.
“Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him.”
It wasn’t all over.
It was all for God’s glory.
It was for the building of their faith.
It was to prove to the incredulous that Jesus was the Son of God.
It was to show God’s power.
He didn’t come when Martha and Mary wanted Him. He came when it was the right time for Him to come. They just couldn’t see it.
I don’t know what you’re facing in your life right now. But I know that God can bring life from death. Beauty from stink. Joy from grief.
Let Him speak comfort to you.
Believe Who He is and what He can do.
Let Him roll the stone away.
And trust that He is doing everything at the right time for the perfect reason.
And remember why you’re on this earth still:
As a witness for Christ.
Let Him use you and your suffering to show the unbelieving His power and glory.
Maybe those who watch what He has done for you will believe on Him.
That’s why you’re here, isn’t it?