Because He Loves Us

One evening in family devos, we were reading about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. (John 11) That story is so precious and chalk full of spiritual insight. It has become one of my favorite portions of Scripture. This time as I read it, I kept thinking about how Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus very much and they loved him. He could have done something to heal Lazarus–he didn’t even have to go there. (the disciples seemed to think he was avoiding that area because of threats on his life.) But from previous miracles it was clear that he was not confined to time and space in the enacting of miraculous healing. And yet, he didn’t heal Lazarus from afar. He could have stepped in and stopped this dear family from suffering such agony, but he didn’t. And it wasn’t although he loved them, it was because he loved them. Jesus had invested in a relationship with them, and they with him, that put them in the position of getting to suffer for his glory.

Certainly Martha could have harbored some resentment that Jesus had not come speedily to their aid. And maybe she did. But it wasn’t the kid of resentment that kept her from running to him when she heard he was finally on his way. In her mind, it was too late for him to do anything about Lazarus. But she still longed to see him, to be near him, to find some comfort in him. Her statement of faith is beautiful….”I have always believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who was to come into the world from God.” Nothing that happened on this earth could shake her confidence in Jesus. It reminds me of Peter’s bold statement of faith, “Lord to whom shall we go?…We believe and we know that you are the Holy One of God.” Martha knew that and she didn’t have anywhere else to go.

Mary, likewise, when she heard that Jesus was there and wanted to see her, got up and ran to him. Both sisters exhibit the kind of faith I want to have–knowing that God is good and does good, even when circumstance might indicate otherwise. It’s amazing to me that neither actually expected him to raise Lazarus from the dead that day. They were a bit horrified when he asked that the stone be rolled away. They weren’t believing him for an earthly miracle. They were believing him for eternity. But Jesus, in true heroic fashion, proved he is God of the here and now and of eternity. He went far beyond their expectations and hopes and many saw His glory because of their suffering. What a wonderful story they had to tell…how fun it must have been to share together the thoughts and feelings of those days, the fear, the grief, the suffering, the wonder, the joy the incredulity.

Once again this story reveals an incredible truth about suffering, When we get to suffer for His glory to be revealed, He does exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask, think or imagine.

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