“So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.”  John 11:6

“Lazarus is dead.  And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe.  Nevertheless, let us go to him.” John 11:14-15

Martha and Mary, two women who, the bible tells us, were very close to Jesus.  Mary goes as far as to anoint Jesus with fragrant oil and wipe his feet with her hair.  Lazarus is their brother.  Scripture also tells us that Jesus knew and loved Lazarus as well.  For in getting word to Jesus that Lazarus is ill, his sisters don’t say:  “Master our brother is ill.”  No, they say to Jesus:  “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.

Jesus had shown to His disciples time after time how the Son of Man, was a Man of compassion.  For Jesus to hear news that a loved one was dying and having the ability to heal, it would seem the hight of cruelty and selfishness not to go to him.  So he tells the disciples not to worry that Lazarus is sick.  It will be alright.  The end is not here for Lazarus but this is happening to Glorify God.

Think for a moment of Martha and Mary.  Think if you or I were in their place how we would have felt.  We know that word has gotten to our Lord that a dear loved one is sick.  You and I know that Jesus has the power to cure him.  Yet it is a few hours and there is no word that Jesus is coming.  A day goes by and no Jesus; not even a word that He is on His way.  Lazarus is getting sicker.  Who knows maybe he, himself is calling out for Jesus.  Still there is not sight of Him.  Lazarus dies.  How would you and I feel toward Jesus?

Jesus knows the time.  He knows what is happening to Lazarus and He knows what is about to happen to Him in Jerusalem.  Jesus also knows his disciples.  He knows that He is about to leave them in not only a horrific way; but in a way, that although He has tried to warn His disciples about how He is to be treated, they still can not see coming.  Jesus knows that they need a sign.  Three have seen Jesus bring a little girl back to life in the privacy of a room, with only the girl’s parents looking on.  Now this sign was going to be public.  All the disciples are going to get to witness the ultimate power of Jesus as Christ, hoping that in the days to come and before the Holy Spirit comes to them, they might find comfort.  Jesus didn’t lie.  When he told the disciples earlier that Lazarus illness was not unto death He was telling them that the reason that Lazarus was ill and the ultimate end was not for Lazarus to die.  But Praise be to God, Lazarus and his illness were going to be instruments Jesus was going to use to show His power and connection to His Heavenly Father.  They go to him.

Now again, imagine you and I are Martha and Mary.  Lazarus is in his tomb.  Has been there for days.  Now Jesus arrives…..finally.  Might not we be bitter?  Might not we be tempted to accuse or worse yet curse Jesus for His tardiness.  Martha meets Jesus.  Depending on how you hear her first words they might sound scornful or accusatory:  “Lord, if you had been here I know my brother would not have died.”  You and I might have gone on to ask:  “So where were you Jesus!  What took you so long?”  Yet to me we hear real reverence in her next statement:  “But even now I know whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”  Did she have a foretaste of what was to come?

Then Jesus makes that statement; that promise that only He, the One True Son of God could make.  “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live!”  He ends this by asking Martha, and in turn asking all of us I believe: “Do you believe this?”

Well why should I?  Lazarus is dead in the tomb.  You’re standing there alive and well but not him.  You and I might have had some doubts but Martha didn’t.  As He told His disciples, to show the Glory of God, Jesus goes to the tomb and commands for Lazarus to come out and he does.

It may not be an illness or impending death, but then again it might be.  It may be financial troubles or deep troubles in a relationship.  It may be an obstacle to a calling you believe that God has given to you which you can’t overcome to accomplish His plan.  In those and countless other circumstances we find ourselves driven to our knees calling out in desperation:  “Jesus! Where are You?”  Sometimes His plan is, that His relief is immediate.  Yet sometimes (though we are never forsaken) the relief is not immediate.  The enemy tempts us to get angry, to get discouraged, to turn away.  Jesus Christ replies:  “You asked for Me; Do you believe this?  Do you believe that I can?”  Jesus understands this.  And if we can find a way, through Him, to get past the tempter, not turn away and even if we ask or bring up reasons why Jesus shouldn’t be able to accomplish what we ask, like when Martha warns Jesus about the stench from Lazarus’s tomb, we will hear Christ’s response:  “Did I not say that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

Jesus Christ thank you.  Because we can have faith that the answer to the question:  Where are You?; is, You are right where you promised you would be.  You are right here.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, I do not understand.  We do not understand.  In a world of quick delivery and instant gratification, we cry out to You and expect an instantaneous response.  Forgive us Merciful Father.  Give us the sure knowledge that You have heard and will come in Your perfect time by which we will see Your Glory and be most blessed.  Let it be when You look to us and ask: “Do you believe this?”, that our answer may always be a confident, triumphant:  Yes Father, in the Name of Jesus Christ, I believe!”  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

 

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