Those who are in the midst of suffering do not know that how it relates to God.
- Is it possible that a trial I am going through is for the glory of God?
Persevere for His sake, for I do not know the ‘why’ of the trial, but I do know the ‘Who’ that walks with me through it all.
Jesus uses a euphemism as He goes to awaken Lazarus from the ‘sleep’ of death. God, through Jesus, awakens us from the sleep of death.
There is a specific and genuine threat (for Jesus and his disciples returning to Jerusalem) that is held in stark contrast to God being glorified. Jesus speaks to it with these words.
“Are there not 12 hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
We are to walk in the light of day, with Jesus, so we do not stumble. Going with Jesus is always light. Without Him is darkness. How shall we choose? Jesus disciples chose to follow the Light into what they expected to be death.
If I am not walking with You, Jesus, I will be walking in darkness no matter the time of day, for You Lord are The Light of this world. With you there is no darkness, for in You is the source of truth and light. Jesus is The Light of the world. My life is hidden in Him, in His Light. Strengthen me, remind me, carry me, that I never walk away or sit down in place when you are moving forward Lord!
Do I understand which Mary this is? Who are Jesus’ good family friends? Mary, the one who anointed the feet of Jesus with her hair. She anointed Him for his death with the most valuable perfume for a body of that time, one specially used in burial. According to Luke 7:38-50, the woman is an immoral woman, a prostitute. Or was, before Jesus. He forgave her her sins, which were many. This is the Mary who was restored whole to her family, her brother Lazarus, her sister Martha. Forgiven much, loved much. Her ministering love toward Jesus preceded her forgiveness from Jesus. Now, in John 11, she trusts and turns to Jesus, in her great sorrow and with this great faith she trusts Him in this also. Jesus will use this moment to openly and publicly confront death head on and give great glory to God, His Father.
Jesus was close friends with this entire family. Jesus loved them so much He trusted them as He worked through what was to happen next- a sickness, for the glory of The Lord.
When sickness comes, when death is at the door and has entered the rooms of my life, will I trust in His love for me? Will I allow Him to be glorified in this death and sickness? They did not understand the Lords purpose and were hurt and angry that He did not answer their prayer, their request for Him to come and fix it the way they wanted it fixed. Yet even with and through their lack of understanding, God was glorified. Lazarus arose, death did not prevail but the author of life did.
Let me remember that life wins in the end – regardless of my hurt. Jesus prevailed and still does. It may not be to my expectations and desires, but it will glorify Him.
I am trusting You, again, today Lord.
If I think of this next scene as a play, there would be a lot of underlying emotions the actors would have to portray. In this scene all the stakes are drastically raised. We have a brief respite from the previous scene where Jews attempt to stone Jesus because they have been challenged for their unbelief. The scene opens in the safety of a place beyond the Jordan where many came to faith.
Jesus, the good shepherd, will not suffer the loss of even one lamb. So upon the news of Lazarus’ sickness, He prepares for His next big sign. This coming sign will bring many more across the threshold of belief. We know the story, but at this moment in the story the disciples do not. What they know is that: sickness can pass, Jesus is not in a hurry and to go to Jerusalem now is to face a mob who will certainly attempt to stone Jesus to death again, thus a risk to themselves.
Why go there? Jesus does not hurry, two days pass and Jesus says time to go. He says that now? That makes no sense. If Jesus was going to help Lazarus, He should have gone right away? Why go now? “He is sleeping.” Well let’s raise those stakes of confusion! Surely the disciples are thinking they should let him sleep! He will wake refreshed! Right? Wrong.
Jesus makes Himself clear. “Lazarus has died.” Now He must go. As if this made any more sense to them now. Rather what is the point? Death has done its deed. Too late. Death also awaits Jesus if He goes into that hateful environment. It is going through their minds that it awaits them also if they go along with him. Jesus responds with something and we do not get any indication that they understood, only that the group agreed to go with Jesus under the assumption that it would mean their own death as well.
Now that is a character study. Not only in what did He say to them, but how did He say it that it created such a powerful reaction. If you ever act this in a play, you had better dig deep into this very strong contrast.
They will go. They expect death; and they trust Jesus.
- Do I follow with this heart for Jesus?
- When I do not comprehend, will I follow anyway trusting in the character and love of the good shepherd?
- Lord, I do not know how much time is left for me or anyone I know, anyone I love. I do not know what tomorrow will bring. Yet I can know You and You have revealed You nature and Your character. YOU are trustworthy. Let me use my time wisely and follow You wholeheartedly.