Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 13 November 19:
John 11:5 — “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”
John 11:14, 15 — “Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’”
Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus deeply, so He allowed them to go through a tremendous life crisis. The sisters asked for Jesus’ immediate help, but in His love, He delayed until Lazarus died. “Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother,” but where was Jesus in their time of great need? Martha and Mary couldn’t help but question why Jesus had apparently let them down — “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32) If He loved them so much, why would He let this happen, when He had already demonstrated the power to heal?
“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Jesus’ delay was undoubtedly perceived by some to be inattentiveness or insensitivity. However, Jesus was fully aware of what was going on and had great compassion for Martha, Mary and all who were suffering through this crisis. Though Jesus “was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled” by the pain experienced by those He loved, He didn’t prevent Lazarus’ death because He knew they needed to go through this crisis in order to realize a far greater joy of knowing from experience that Jesus is “the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) They already knew Jesus could heal and perform miracles, but now they would know that Jesus is the Life — “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:26) Can you imagine how deeper the relationship was between Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Jesus after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead? Can you imagine how greatly God was glorified through Jesus’ relationship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus — “See how he loved him!” (John 11:36) “It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)
If you have ever questioned why God allowed you to go through crisis or tragedy and seemed to leave your prayers unanswered, this story is for you. In His perfect love, God will never forsake you and will walk with you compassionately through hard times to draw you closer to Him and to glorify Himself through your life. Trust in God’s love through life’s challenges, draw closer to Him, and wait upon Him. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
– Romans 8:28-29 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
– Romans 8:31-32 — What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
– Romans 8:35. 37-39 — Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 13 November 19: In your challenges today, focus on trusting God, drawing closer to Him, and glorifying Him before others through your confidence, joy, and peace.