As the One whose stated mission was to “heal the sick” (Mt. 8:12), Jesus even sent out His disciples to do the same — and even raise the dead! (Mt. 10:8). But nothing prepared His friends for the possibility that He would, by His inaction, facilitate the death of one of His friends!
He doesn’t drop everything and rush to Mary and Martha’s sides when He learns that His friend Lazarus is sick. He doesn’t take the shortest route to Bethany to go to Lazarus’ bedside and raise him up. Jesus stays where He is! Let’s look at our portion of Luke 11 again …
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.”
Instead of making an expected house-call, Jesus speaks an astounding prediction and an amazing declaration. He says, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” (v. 4). The astounding prediction is that “this sickness will not end in death.” Only GOD can make that kind of statement! The amazing declaration is that “it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” There is a purpose in Lazarus’ sickness; his illness is not meaningless.
We then are reminded of something quite critical in this strange situation. It is no mere aside that John gives us when he writes, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” (v. 5). We may be assured that whatever the Lord chooses to do, it will be out of His love for His own. To assume that such is not the case is the lie of the Evil One.
May I ask you, What are you going through right now that tempts you to think that God no longer loves you or that His inactions (as we see them) are evidence of His lack of care? (to be continued)