1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)
Mary and Martha found themselves knee-deep in the muck of God’s mission as they helplessly watched their brother slip into the grave. How does one reconcile death as it draws near…and knocks? Nothing fits together when you’re standing on that threshold. However, the Healer had been among them. So they did the only thing they knew to do.
3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When 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.”
Everything will be alright now. Jesus has been called to the scene. He is coming. (Phew!) The Father will be glorified when Lazarus is healed. The Son will be glorified when Lazarus is healed. Not dead. Made well. All better.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days…
He what? Jesus did what? He…waited? He waited two more days?
Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus with such great depth that…
He didn’t come before Lazarus died.
Excuse me? Do you mean to tell me that Jesus didn’t show up until it was…(dare I say) too late?
Am I the only one having a hard time reconciling this as I wait for Jesus to ride in and save the day and you wait for Jesus to ride in and save the day…and two more days pass…and what feels like two plus two hundred more days pass and still…
Jesus is a no-show?
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Do I have the right to expect Jesus to arrive on the scene before death?
Jesus waited because He loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Out of immense His love, He waited.
When we’re stranded in the muck of God’s mission and then God waits…and waits some more…and leaves us there…and waits, “two more days”…it sure doesn’t feel like love.
It doesn’t feel like love when something dies. Or…someone.
No. THAT doesn’t feel like love at all.
Does this mean that…
LOVE = GOD INTENTIONALLY WAITS TO ANSWER MY PRAYER?
LOVE = I INTENTIONALLY WAIT ON GOD TO ANSWER MY PRAYER?
This is the exact point at which our faith must kick up its hackles and come bounding in. We look for Jesus to come riding in on His white horse and save the day, but it is our faith that must stand tall in the stirrups. Now. Like, right now.
With hope against ALL hope, our faith must ride to the rescue and trample over the neck of the enemy we call, Unbelief.
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Jesus is delaying His arrival for my benefit. And not just for mine, but for the benefit of all the other people “standing here” with me (that would be YOU). Jesus Christ is delaying His arrival for my benefit and yours. Because He loves me that much.
Because He loves you that much.
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Let FAITH arise from our tombs of unbelief, shed its grave clothes, and ride forth to save the day.
(John 11, emphasis added.)