In Jesus Wept Part 1, I talked about the compassionate nature of Christ. It may seem obvious that Christ cares about us since the Bible says He loves us so much. Still, it’s very important to point that out, because we often forget this truth in our work-to-work lives and sometimes even doubt that truth during our trials.
Today, I wanted to talk about this verse in light of trials.
The story of Lazarus’ death starts with Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, sending a runner to Jesus. Jesus hears that Lazarus is ill, but He decides to stay where He was for two days. Then Jesus leaves and arrives four days after Lazarus had died.
It’s very easy to speed through this story and miss one of the lessons of it. No one knew Jesus would raise Lazarus from the dead. If they did, no one would have cried.
Mary and Martha were just trying to keep their brother alive till Jesus could get there and fix everything. It doesn’t say in the Bible, but usually such quick deaths are very violent: shaking, sever pain, and expulsion of bodily fluids. Mary and Martha were going through this with their beloved brother and essential provider of their income.
Lazarus dying was not part of their plan. Jesus’ late arrival was not a part of their plan. They probably felt hopeless. A woman’s wage during that time was next to nothing. Their dear friend, Savior of the World, could have saved Lazarus but decided to take His time getting there. All sorts of negative uncomfortable feelings welled up in Mary and Martha. Jesus could have done something about it, but at that time He chose not to.
Instead, Jesus cried with them, and He spoke truth and hope to them. Jesus then asks Martha to have the people remove the stone. Martha has concerns, but eventually does what Jesus says. Jesus essentially tells Lazarus to stop being dead, and Lazarus comes back to life. The section ends with Jesus saying, “Unbind him and let him go”. The story kind of falls flat with that ending, but let’s think about it.
How do you think Mary and Martha felt after getting back their brother from the dead? Was it a joy great enough to negate the experience of Lazarus dying a violent or possibly calm death?
Later on in the Book of John it says Jesus was eating with them, so they didn’t seem to hold a grudge. I believe that having an opportunity to see God’s glory first hand, and having it benefit them (God’s glory always benefits us btw. Ask Bryan to explain), such an event was worth whatever it costs to get there.
This points to a reality of heaven. Do you think after we get to heaven the martyrs, the beaten, or the persecuted will have complaints about their hard lives to God? Absolutely not! Everyone will be struck with awe over the amazing God we serve.
So today, in our trials we know that they will work out for good in the end. I hope and believe most within our lifetime, but some maybe after death.
It’s easy to look at our lives and consider our struggles so minor. After all, we’re not having our friends imprisoned for the gospel, but don’t fall into that comparison game. The Gospel isn’t easy for anyone. There are seasons of ups and downs, but I’ll end with this.
One of the greatest proclamations of God’s glory, and one of our greatest acts of worship, is to not worry because God has a plan and is in control.
Notice I said worry and not afraid. Fear is a reaction emotion, but to worry is an action to think and contemplate on. Don’t think and contemplate on the possibility that God isn’t in control or loving.