(As we travel these last two weeks of the Lenten journey, our focus moves from more introspective themes to the historical events culminating in Jesus traveling the road to Calvary. So, this week we will look at Jesus’ traveling to the home of Mary and Martha after the death of Lazarus. This event happened shortly before Palm Sunday and was a major event in triggering the plot to kill Jesus.)
Scripture: John 11:1-6
1Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
Does it ever seem like God doesn’t do the right thing, or at least his timing is noticeably off? He clearly could do something and just doesn’t. We were talking in our family about some disappointments for something we had prayed and hoped for, something which just didn’t happen. In fact, it emphatically did not happen! In trying to console our family member, I commented, “The Lord’s ways are not our ways.” And the family member responded with the truth we all felt, “And that’s what makes it so annoying!”
Such was the case with Lazarus. He was sick at home. His good friend Jesus was elsewhere in another part of the country. His sisters sent word for Jesus to come to help, after all, Jesus had healed other people. Though Jesus was a close friend, what kind of a “friend” does not offer to help in time of need? Yet, Jesus ignored their request.
Though the sisters did not know it nor could imagine it, something better was in store. That something better was not even the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead; it was the glorification of Jesus, as the Son of God, as the One who had the power over death. What better way to demonstrate the power of Jesus over life and death thereby bringing glory to God than to raise a dead man! Jesus waited to come to their home, because he was listening to his Father who had perfect timing in his magnificent plan.
You may be going through a “Jesus stayed two more days” frustration phase of your life and your prayer is “Why doesn’t God act now before it’s too late?” Instead pray that God might be glorified in what is coming your way. As my father-in-law so often reminded us, “The Lord may tarry, but he is never too late.” Just you wait! Your passage “through the river” into the Celestial City is certain! Read chapter eleven of Pilgrim’s Progress again and you’ll see what we mean! Remember, God has your biggest picture in mind.
Music: “Alleluia, Sing to Jesus” Chet Valley Churches
Prayer: O Lord, let me not henceforth desire health or life except to spend them for you, with you and in you. You alone know what is good for me; do therefore what seems best to you. Give to me or take from me; conform my will to yours; and grant that with humble and perfect submission and in holy confidence I may receive the orders of your eternal providence and may equally adore all that comes to me from you. –Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662