by Dorette Saunders
Over and over Jesus tells us that his purpose is to glorify his Father in heaven. When Jesus healed the man who was born blind, he specifically told his disciples that God would receive glory on account of that healing.
In the narrative about the raising of Lazarus (Read: John 11:1-45), Jesus purposely delays rushing to see his sick friend saying, “His sickness won't end in death. It will bring glory to God and his Son” (v. 4, CEV).
No doubt Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, sent for Jesus the moment they realized that their brother, Lazarus, was not getting better. As friends of Jesus, they knew his power. If anyone could heal Lazarus or prevent him from dying, it would be Jesus. Imagine the turmoil in their spirits after they had prayed, had sent a message to Jesus, and time passed. No sign of Jesus. Hours turned into days. And with the passage of time, Lazarus grew worse and eventually died.
Put yourself in their place. How would you react? Perhaps the sisters walked the tight rope of frustration, anger, and grief. Frustration because they did everything they knew to do. Anger (controlled, perhaps) because the one who held the key to Lazarus’ healing did not show up on time. And grief because Lazarus was dead. In fact, he had been dead for four days, and buried, by the time Jesus got there.
Yet, we who live in this day and age, and have been given the Scriptures and the gift of God’s Spirit know this: God is never late. God is never absent from our lives. And God never goes back on his word.
Did not Jesus tell his disciples that Lazarus’ sickness would not end in death?
The sisters did not know this. And as each met Jesus, separately, they said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (vv.21, 32, CEV).
God was working his purpose out. Lazarus’ body was already decaying. Those who did not believe in Jesus could not write this off as a hoax. Lazarus was sick and ultimately died. But in all this, God would get the glory. Jesus had tried to comfort Martha with that thought (v. 40). Jesus himself had wept when they took him to Lazarus’ tomb.
Yet that was not the end. Imagine the collective thought: “Lord, if you had been here….” Aren’t we guilty of that sometimes? Closing the curtain, and ignoring the “making of a miracle”? Don’t we sometimes see death as the final act? Don’t we sometimes give up on Jesus who never gives up on us?
We, in post-resurrection times, know that death isn’t our final end if we know Jesus, and have confessed him as Lord.
“Jesus looked up toward heaven and prayed, ‘Father, I thank you for answering my prayer. I know that you always answer my prayers. But I said this, so the people here would believe you sent me.’
“When Jesus had finished praying, he shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The man who had been dead came out” (vv.41-43, CEV).
Glory! Glory! Glory! That was a shouting moment. God was indeed glorified. There was no denying that God was at work. Many of those who had come to mourn with the sisters saw the things Jesus did and put their faith in him.
It’s a lesson for us today. God will do what he said he will do. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit so we can be assured of God’s divine presence with us. We don’t have to worry. We will never have reason to say, “Lord, if you had been here…” because Jesus never leaves us.
He is here!
PRAYER: Lord God, even when things look as if they are not working in our favor, we know that you are working everything out for our good. Help us to trust you as we wait for the manifestation of all that you have for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.