I have been meditating on John chapter 11 for the past couple of days. I want to share some thoughts I have with you. First let’s read some of the chapter.
John 11 New International Version (NIV)
The Death of Lazarus
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.”Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.”But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
An interesting thing to me is what Martha said to Jesus. She believed who he was, she believed he could have prevented her brother’s death and that he could raise him if he wanted. But here is the thing: she didn’t believe he would. When Jesus said her brother would rise again, she thought he meant at the last day, during the rapture.
How many times do we do this in our walk with God? We know he can do anything, we believe he can, but we put him in an earthly box and base our belief of what he will do on what we can see is possible. Why? The deciples, who lived with him thought the same way. I believe part of Jesus’ sorrow that day included sadness for the ones he loved not having faith in him, for their human limitations. He wanted them to see his power and the love and caring of his father. Every explanation he gave for his actions or lack thereof in this chapter had to do with wanting them to believe.
Have you ever been sad because you could see something that would help someone else, if they could only see it? Have you ever had your heart broken for your child who is devastated by something that you know will bring good things later if they could only understand? Have you ever struggled with being mad at God for saying no? Martha was, but she surrendered to him and look what happened.
John and I want a baby. I have had my tubes tied and I know God could still allow me to get pregnant if that is what he wants, but we have been pursuing other options. I don’t want to put God in a box. I don’t want to doubt what he will do in our lives based on what I deem possible. I want to continue to hope and have faith that God will use whatever means he sees fit for us and that he will give us the desires of our hearts. My challenge for you is to do the same. Is there something impossible that you long to see God do for you? A financial burden? A relationship mended? A new member of your family? Victory over sin in your life? Whatever it is ask Him, have faith in what he can do and trust in what he will do!
Isaiah 64:4 says: Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived,no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
Happy New year!