Then Jesus said,”Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40
Whoa. That is a pretty big question. But let’s put it into context for a moment. Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead. Recall that Lazarus and his sisters were friends of Jesus. In Luke 11: 38-42, Martha hosted Jesus and His disciples in her home in a town called Bethany around 3 kilometers from Jerusalem during His ministry. While Martha is frantically serving and moving about the house, her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet just listening. Think for a moment about the conversations that occurred at this table in that home!
Flash forward. Martha and Mary were worried. Lazarus, their brother had become very sick. John 11:5 says that Jesus loved the trio of siblings and when Lazarus fell ill the sisters knew who they could rely on. They sent word to Jesus to let Him know that Lazarus is about to perish. Here’s where I find that the story becomes interesting. Jesus tells the disciples in verse 4 that Lazarus’ sickness “will not end in death. No it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” In other words, He was in control. There was a purpose.
In hard times, do you ever sit back and wonder,” Why am I being put through this??” I’m sure Martha and Mary thought the same thing after Lazarus became sick. Why do bad things happen to good people? It is unclear whether Lazarus lived with his sisters but we often associate men with being the head of the household especially in the time of Christ around 30AD. Regardless, it must have been concerning for Martha and Mary to see the upcoming loss of their brother. In panic, the ladies reach out to Jesus. Just like we do. But there is no indication of an answer sent back to the ladies. They must have been worried sick after Jesus didn’t come rushing to Lazarus’ side. I know I would have been incredibly upset!
The disciples are the ones to hear John 11: 4 and as verse 6 indicates, Jesus remained where He was and allowed Lazarus to die. And as Jesus tells the disciples,”Lazarus is dead and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Is it coincidence that a person that Jesus’ loves dearly was allowed to die just to teach us or provide us with an example experience? Is it slightly similar to John 3:16? I loosely place ourselves in the disciples’ position because like them, we are human. We doubt, we argue and we want to be the ones in control. We seek answers to unanswerable questions and yet without frustration or contempt Jesus teaches us because He knows that we need proof. So Jesus agrees to go to Lazarus, Martha and Mary in Bethany despite the resistance and danger that Jesus was in by traveling in the area. Again, risking His and the disciples’ safety for the people who He loves: Martha, Mary, Lazarus and the disciples. There is a lesson to be learned and Jesus was determined to reveal what the disciples and sisters did not know.
I challenge you to remain patient and keep awareness during the hard times of life. God is trying to use these moments to teach us or equip us to relate to others experiencing similar situations. But don’t forget, these moments are intended to bring God glory. Not us. And it is easy. We don’t have to study. We don’t have to work to earn it. We just need to remain faithful. God teaches us because He loves us.