Thursday, April 26, 2012

John 11:27-37

Yesterday we finished with the question Jesus asked Martha, “Do you believe this?” Martha’s response, at first glance, seems to be a firm declaration of faith, but I believe behind it was a similar attitude that we often share:

“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” (John 11:27)

Martha had no doubt that Jesus was the Messiah, and she obviously believed he had the power to heal Lazarus. But she must have figured that even though He was able, He must not have been willing. For, after making this declaration, she turns and heads back to the house. So often Christians will affirm that Jesus can certainly do miracles, but He just doesn’t see fit to do any for me. I’m just not important enough for God to notice me!

If you are like me, you have no trouble believing God can and does do miracles for those for whom we are praying. We’ve witnessed them! But when it comes to our own needs, we are torn between active belief and resignation, and like Martha, after declaring our faith, we turn and head back to the house rather than wait in expectation. Don’t we yearn for the simple faith of the child who knows without a doubt that her daddy will always come through and watches on tiptoe to see him do it?

Jesus was certainly willing to answer the prayers of these dear friends. It is apparent in the tenderness He shows Mary when she finally comes to meet Him.

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.  

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.  

Jesus wept.  

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”  

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (vs. 32-37)

Jesus response to their grief was compassion mixed with a troubled spirit. How He wanted them to just trust and believe! Mary’s weeping moved Him deeply. Her friends could see that. But some asked that same question that had been nagging both Martha and Mary: why didn’t He come immediately and heal Lazarus? Their faith goes far enough to believe in His healing power, but they aren’t yet ready to believe He can raise from the dead, so they are left with the fact that He did not intervene. Why?

All of us have experienced those times when God is silent or does not intervene. Oh, if we could just trust that something better is coming! It may not be as dramatic as what we will see next, and it may not be at all what we specifically asked for (they were asking for healing not resurrection), but we CAN trust that God has a plan that is much better than we can envision - “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Eph 3:20) I can’t wait to see Him blow their minds! And speaking of blowing their minds, I need to let you know that baby Royce is now at home with his mommy and daddy. Glory to God! Now there’s a miracle we all believed in! Thank you, LORD!  

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