For the audio version: https://youtu.be/dNJ_wds9uZA
Prepare to listen. Still your heart and mind with this prayer from Psalm 19: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Prayerfully Read John 11:1-6
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ 5Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
Despite his love for this family, which John stresses, Jesus delayed going to help them. This makes no sense to some of us today. Why would Jesus deliberately delay when the friends he loved were in such desperate need? After all, if you love someone, surely you would rush to their aid when they asked? This is what we expect of Jesus, that he’d immediately respond with relief for our suffering and pain. Yet Jesus didn’t do this for the friends he loved, and his deliberate delay resulted in greater suffering and grief for this family. If you know this story, you know there was a happy ending but not before this disturbing deliberate delay by Jesus. Why?
Jesus was focused on something far greater than Lazarus’ healing. He said, “it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Did he know that Lazarus’ story would be a sign of his own death and resurrection (his glorification)? Is that why he delayed? Whatever his reason, his action reveals that there is something greater than an instant response to our need, even in this year of covid-19. We may not understand why our prayers for an end to the pandemic have not been answered, but we can be sure that Jesus looks further than we do and sees the greater good of God’s glory even in this devastating pandemic. All we can do is trust and patiently wait.
What was your gut response to these few verses today? Tell Jesus.
Respond to Jesus
Lord, you love us deeply and sometimes it’s necessary for us to go through hard stuff, such as we’re experiencing in this year of a global pandemic. Help me keep my eyes on you and trust your love for me. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world even when you don’t understand Jesus’ ways.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.