The story plays out in Chapter 11 of John’s gospel. There we learn so much more about the humanity of Jesus. We get a very real and very powerful glimpse of the heart of God. Jesus had three very dear and close friends. They are Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. These three are siblings, the “Bethany Family”. We read that Lazarus became very ill and it’s severe enough that he dies from his ailment. This is when the inescapable becomes our reality, the ugly fruit of living in a fallen world. The pain and heartbreak brought on by the death of a loved one. In this account, we learn that Jesus is the actual culprit. What? You read that right and I’ll give you the proof of that statement. Verse 6 of chapter 11, “So when He (Jesus) heard that Lazarus was sick, He (Jesus) stayed two more days in the place where He was”. And now let’s look at verse 14, “Then Jesus told them plainly, Lazarus has died and I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there, that you all would believe” See, it is quite obvious that Jesus delayed, on purpose, going to where Lazarus was because Jesus would have been moved with such love and compassion that He would have more than likely healed Lazarus. And to top it off, Jesus tells them “I’m glad I waited, in other words, I let him die and I’m asking you to trust me!! In this moving and powerful moment captured within God’s infallible Word, we learn one of the most important lessons that we, as believers can learn. God always has a greater purpose behind everything we go through. It doesn’t matter if it’s a triumphant victory or an embarrassing moment of defeat. If it’s a major moment of joy or a moment of such intense pain and heartbreak that you feel there is no way to survive it. God has ordained it ALL for His Glory and our good. And we see that displayed in full awesomeness in this story. Jesus finally gets on the scene and He is met by Martha. It’s not a good moment from the view of her flawed humanity. She’s devasted, she is heartbroken. Her brother has died and she needs answers, she needs hope and comfort. And she has instinctively run to the right place, to the perfect person, the ONLY person that can offer her ALL of that, JESUS!! She utters words that should stop every one of us in our tracks and cause us to reflect on our own impression of who Jesus really is, what He is truly capable of. She exclaims that if Jesus had been there during her brother’s battle that her brother would not have died. What faith, what hope she had in this “carpenter” from Galilee. But she doesn’t stop there, she reaches even further into her heart of belief and says to Jesus, okay it’s happened, it is what it is, Lazarus is dead, BUT… “I know that whatever you ask from God, God WILL do it!!! Whoa, what faith, what simple, childlike faith she has just demonstrated. At that moment Jesus then reveals why this has happened, why His friend Lazarus died from his illness. Jesus utters these words to Martha, and to us….Your brother WILL, not MIGHT, rise again. Martha then tells Jesus that she knows this, because of the resurrection on the last day that Lazarus will come back. But Jesus informs her that this “resurrection” she is looking forward to isn’t some far-off hope that may be thousands of years in the making. That this resurrection is a reality NOW. That He (Jesus) was the resurrection and that everyone that has placed faith in Him will never die. What a truth bomb Jesus just dropped on Martha, that crowd, and also on us. We live because of Him, forever. The truth is that Lazarus wasn’t dead at all, oh sure, his mortal body gave out, but Lazarus was just as alive on that side of eternity as he was this side. That none of us ever “die” we live eternally, for those of us that trust Christ, our eternity will be with Him in Heaven. What hope we have, what joy and comfort we can take because of who Jesus is. Of course, if you have read the story you know it has a very happy ending for Martha and Mary. Jesus calls Lazarus forth and restores him back to life on this side of Heaven. I’m convinced that the reason why this happened wasn’t so God could show that crowd that He could shock them by raising a stinky, dead man back to life, but as Jesus explains in His prayer in verse 42, “but so that they will believe that I am who I say I am and that You have sent me”…..LAZARUS COME FORTH!!! Christ’s soul desire is that the world believes that He is God’s only son, the Lamb of God, Savior, and Lord. The hard reality is that our loved ones and our friends eventually die. We hurt and we mourn and we scream and WE CRY!!! But please remember the heart of God during those times….”Jesus wept”…GOD CRIED because He is well acquainted with our pain and our sorrow and our brokenness. He understands and He is showing you, me, and all of us His better purpose through all that we endure and go through. That He is the resurrection and the life and the peace and hope that we so desperately need. Take heart and trust in Jesus!
and remember: “Look up & Push-on”