After another heated debate with the religious leaders in Jerusalem Jesus led His band of followers out about a day’s journey to the west side of the Jordan River. They stayed at a place that John had spent a great deal of time baptizing in the advent of Jesus’ ministry. Many people found Him there and believed in Him because they recognized that He fulfilled all that John had prophesied.
One day some men approached whom Jesus recognized as friends of Martha and Mary.
Jesus stood. “How are the sisters?”
The men bowed. “Greetings Rabbi. The sisters are greatly worried. Their brother, Lazarus, is very sick.”
Jesus looked each man in the eye. “Tell them this will not end in death. God, and His Son, will be glorified through what is happening.”
The men looked at Jesus, then at each other. One of them looked back at Jesus. “Very well.” Then he turned around and led the men back to Bethany.
Three days later, as they were finishing breakfast, Jesus stood. “Today we’re going back to Judea.”
Matthew choked on his food. Phillip stood. “But, Lord, the last time we were there they tried to stone You. It’d be a suicide mission.”
Jesus smiled. “Whoever walks during the daylight doesn’t stumble. Only those who walk at night can’t see and fall.” He looked around the group. “Lazarus is sleeping. I must wake him up.”
Andrew leaned forward. “If he’s sleeping he’ll recover.”
Jesus stared at him. “Lazarus is dead. I’m glad I wasn’t there so you may believe. Let’s go.”
As Jesus walked eastward Thomas stood and faced the group. “Let’s go with Him so we can die, too.”
Many of you will recognize this as the first act in the story of the resurrection of Lazarus as it was given by John in the eleventh chapter of his gospel. I decided to keep it in three sections because there are too many lessons in this account to give the whole story justice by presenting it all at once.
The background in chapter ten starts with Jesus in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication. Some Jews ask Him to declare Himself the Messiah if that’s the case. When Jesus does so they pick up stones to satisfy their blood thirst for such blasphemy.
Jesus points to His miracles as proof that He and God are one. Then, He escapes their capture and leads His men to a quiet place. While there He receives a prayer request to come and cure Lazarus before he dies.
What the messengers don’t know, but Jesus does, is that Lazarus died shortly after they left to deliver the message. I’m pretty sure the calmness He treated the situation with caught them totally off guard.
Jesus gives them assurance that this won’t end in death. I wonder if they ever relayed that message to the sisters when they found Lazarus already in the grave when they returned.
Do you find yourself in a similar circumstance in your life right now?
Do you see a dire situation that needs an answer to prayer now?
Have you sent your prayer heavenward and now you’re expecting a specific answer to arrive any moment now?
Keep the faith. God knows more about your situation than you do. He has a plan for the answer to your prayer, and it’s already on the way. But, it may take longer to get to you than you anticipate. Keep the faith.
I’ve read this story in different translations and I don’t see Jesus surprised or panicked by any of it. He’s calm and confident; every bit as confident as He was when they asked Him if He was the Messiah. He knew His answer would be misunderstood, but He stuck to the truth no matter the outcome.
I have a prayer request that I’d like to see an immediate answer to in my own life. The fact that the answer hasn’t come doesn’t make my faith waver in the least. I’ve seen how God has worked in my heart to change me in His time, and I know He’s doing the same work in the heart I’m praying for. I’m keeping the faith.
Remember what happened to Peter when he was walking on the water with Jesus? As long as he looked at Jesus he stayed on top of the water. As soon as he looked around and concentrated his attention on the waves around him he sunk like the rock he was named after. Keep your eyes on your deliverer not your circumstance.
Your outcome will have the same effect as every answer to prayer does. Did you catch what that was in our story? Jesus assured the messengers that God would receive glory, and the Son would, too. You see, all things work together to bring God glory. Not what you thought that sentence was going to say. Is it?
The desperation that surrounds you is meant to bring God as much glory as the best church service you ever attended. God will gain the glory. That’s why He made man to begin with, to glorify Himself. Believe that and your faith will take a giant leap forward.
What the disciples didn’t know, but they feared and Jesus knew, was this would be their last trip into Judea and Jerusalem with Jesus. Jesus knew exactly what lay ahead of Him in the coming week. His determination was steadfast and unwavering. This first event that awaited them should have prepared them for the last event of the week.
Their expectations were a bit off from God’s plans. Sound familiar?
Thomas was the one to sound the battle cry: “Let’s go that we may die with Him, too.”
Doesn’t sound like someone who’d be known for doubt. Does it? They expected the kingdom to be established next, not Jesus’ death. No wonder they were so confused. They misunderstood Jesus, too.
So, in summary: send your prayers while patiently keeping the faith.
I’ll see you later. Wade