Vol. 3, No. 15 – April 15, 2018
Jesus wept! John 11:35
It has been said that God’s disappointments are His appointments; and that God’s delays are not His denials; but do we believe what we hear?
We feel we must be active, energetic, enthusiastic, and humanly effective; we cannot understand why inactivity, weakness, weariness, and seeming uselessness should become our lot. It all appears to be so futile and foolish, without plan or purpose. V.R. Edman
Although it is clear that Jesus loved Lazarus, He not only permitted Lazarus’ sickness, He even allowed it to continue and end in death; however, it was not really the end! Mary and Martha were sure Jesus would come to their home in Bethany. Because Jesus loved Lazarus, “When therefore He heard that he was sick, He stayed then two days longer in the place where He was.” That seems utterly strange; when we hear of someone dear struggling with life we rush to get at the side of the one we love! Lazarus died!
Four days later, Jesus arrives at His favorite hospitality house, and Martha said: “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (11:32) When Jesus went to the burial place, He commanded the stone that covered the tomb be removed. Mary, weeping said, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days”
In a culture that believed there was still a chance for life in a three-day period, four days was too long; Lazarus’ spirit would have departed. Jesus had walked to the graveyard in the hills near town, His tears flowing down. Even the neighbors remarked: “Behold how He loved him!” (11:36) Well, if He loved Lazarus, if He could have healed his sickness, why did Jesus deliberately delay His arrival.
First of all, “going to Bethany after the death of His beloved friend would test the disciples willingness to follow their Lord to that area of danger in Judea, the center of opposition. Our walking with Him will not eliminate dangers, but when dangers come, as they surely will, they will come in the permission of God and within the protective care of our heavenly Father.” –Charles Ryrie
Secondly, God’s timing is always perfect. The Lord of all circumstances said He was glad He was not in Bethany when this event happened, so that His disciples might believe when they saw the next miracle of Jesus. Often we want Jesus to do things our way – even demand it. Our timing is most important to us. It is imperative we leave Him to do these things in His own way, and in His own timing.
Now, four days later, it is time for Jesus to take over, so He shouts: “Lazarus, come out; come forth!” Lazarus came, bound up in the gravecloths, his face muffled in a head swath. Jesus commanded them to unwrap him and let him go. (11:43-44) This had to be quite a sight.
In past years I worked for a company that was contracted by the funeral homes to perform burials, and even transfer remains from condemned mausoleums. I could write a book on those experiences alone. Suffice it to say that many people are not prepared for the departure of their loved ones; they have not relied upon the Christ raised from the dead.
To walk with Christ in delays and even in death is far better than to walk without Him in darkness!