John 11:1-27 (ESV)
1Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Jesus specifically chose to stay where He was for two additional days after hearing that His friend, Lazarus, was ill. He did it on purpose so that God could be glorified and so people would believe. Sometimes when we find ourselves in difficult times, it is hard to see where God is working and can even seem like He is not working at all. We have to remember that His ways are not our ways.
Jesus allowed Lazarus to die and to spend 4 days in the tomb before He came to raise him from the dead. If Jesus had come when Lazarus was sick, Jesus would have healed yet another person. By waiting, it was clear to all who knew of the death of Lazarus that Jesus had raised him from the dead. It was the miracle of miracles and anyone who knew about it couldn’t help but believe in Jesus and it is this belief in who Jesus is that brings salvation.
Jesus is the resurrection and the life. It is through His death and resurrection on the cross that we are forgiven for our sins and are able to be in a relationship with the Lord and have eternity with Him.
When we feel like God isn’t working in our circumstances, we can take comfort in knowing that like in the instance of Lazarus, Jesus would work and work for the good of His people. What situation are you facing that you need God to act or to recognize where He is already at work?
Lord, Your ways are not our ways. In our limited view, we can be confused into thinking you are not working at all. Help strengthen our belief and show us how You are working. Thank You for Your work in our lives; help us bring glory to Your name. Amen.