Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke
John 11:4 Our study of the death and resurrection of a man called Lazarus continues today. It has been established that Jesus was a close personal friend of this family, consisting of two sisters (Martha and Mary) and their brother who was named Lazarus. The brother was stricken with some dread disease and his life was in danger. The sisters sent a message to Jesus to come quickly and heal him, only to find themselves waiting in anguish as they watched their brother die. This is a typical story that has been repeated time and time again, loved ones waiting and watching in terrible pain, hoping for a miracle, praying desperately for one. Only this family personally knew a miracle worker whom they believed could actually perform miracles because they had seen it happen. Their problem was that they could get no response from Him.
We’ve seen people go through this ordeal. They pray. No answer.
They weep inconsolably. No comfort. They fast. They call on spiritual friends to help. Nothing works.
Finally death arrives with cold eyes, a frozen heart, a gleam in his eye that speaks of the joy his job brings him. A family is left behind which will bear the scars of this loss for the rest of their lives, and death rejoices, promising to return for others.
Death is presented by Paul as an enemy of God (I Cor. 15:26), and the last one to be destroyed.
However, in this story, Jesus gives a strange response upon hearing of the sickness of Lazarus. Jesus states, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God…” (John 11:4).
It sounds as if Lazarus will live and not die. How do we understand this story when we know Lazarus did die? We must take Christ at His word. Yes, Lazarus died, but we should understand the Greek that is used which says that death is not the end or final result towards which this experience was heading. Death was only a step in the process that was leading to glorifying the Son of God. Lazarus was as asleep and Jesus awakened him (John 11:11).
This led to a great revelation of Christ to the people of this city and many were deeply touched by this miracle.
Let us believe and trust even when we don’t understand. So many times we doubt the Lord because some unforeseen event occurs and overwhelms. He has never lost sight of you. He has never stopped loving you. He has never stopped caring for you and preserving your faith. Even if the miracle doesn’t come, we have a great hope of eternal life with Him.