1. Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped
His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.
3. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom
You love is sick.”
4. When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death,
but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
5. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.
For many years I never stopped wondering about the Eleventh Chapter of John and the above passage in particular. I never stopped thinking why Lazarus who was so much loved by Jesus Christ would suffer such confusion and eventually die of his infirmity.
I never stopped wondering why Mary who had lavished a costly ointment on anointing Jesus’s head would suffer such disappointment. She had desperately sent for Jesus to rush down and heal His dying friend, her brother, and Jesus stayed two more days where He was, without hastily leaving and rushing down.
The Bible described Lazarus as the brother of Mary, who bought that costly alabaster oil and broke it to anointing Jesus with it. She so much reverenced Jesus that she bowed at his feet and wiped His feet with her hair. Mary had invested so much on Jesus. Her sister, Martha was the lady who was so hospitable to Jesus, running around to prepare food for Him, while Mary sat at her feet listening to His precious word. Jesus was so happy and comfortable branching off to their house to eat. He loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus, their brother.
They are one of those close friends of Jesus Christ.
Now, the only brother of Mary and Martha was terribly sick and was dying. What did you expect? Their very good friend, Jesus, was the Great Healer. He raised the dead and healed the blind. They were friends to the Jesus of Nazareth, so they would receive His help fast, in case of any immergency. So they thought.
But they got the shocking of their lives when they sent for Jesus to come quickly and heal their dying brother, His friend, and instead of rising up and rushing down, the Bible says, He stayed two more days where He was. In fact, He even said to His disciples that they should go somewhere else (Judea) for evangelism.
Does this thing make any sense to you? When you think you love Jesus so much, when you think you have done so much for Him and His Kingdom; and when you think you have invested in the matter of the kingdom so much that, if you call The Lord once, He would answer twice, but when you run into a serious problem or when you are in the tight corner of life, you call upon Him urgent, but He seems to have travelled on a more important errand.
Jesus loved Lazarus so much, that when he was sick, Jesus, his friend was not there. When he was dying of the sickness, and Jesus was sent for, He deemed it fit to continue what He was doing for two more days. He did not count the healing of his friend so urgent.
Does this also make any sense to you? Despite your love for Him, and your deep sacrifice for His Kingdom; despite your prayer life and worshipful attitude to Him, has it ever happened to you that the healing you counted so urgent was not urgently responded to by Jesus? It baffled me until I saw the reasons why.
It baffled me, that Jesus did not show up when Lazarus was sick. He did not show up when his friend was dying. He did not show up when he just died, and his dead body was just warm and fresh. He waited till His friend died and then, announced to his disciples: “Lazarus is dead”.
Even then, by the time He and disciples got to Bethany, where the man died, the man had been dead for four days. He was already buried and decomposing.
Jesus came too late, you would think. They sent for Him. He came. But not at the time they wanted Him to show up. He still eventually came at His own time and still performed the miracle. However, it was a higher miracle He performed.
I wondered for long why Jesus would play with the life of His friend and relaxed when he was expected to rush down and heal him. I wondered for long until I got the answer.
He did not prevent Lazarus from getting sick, no one would see the glory of God in that. He did not heal him of his sickness.
In the time of Jesus, healing the sick was becoming a cheap miracle. I think he did not want that for His close friend. Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Great Healer, would have thought of how best to compensate His friend Lazarus; He would have thought of greatest wonder, one-of-a-kind, first of its kind, that he could give to His friend. He would have thought of the type of honor Mary, Martha and Lazarus, who loved Him deserved.
So, when the devil thought to afflict Lazarus with sickness and throw his sisters and their house into sorrow, Jesus was watching from afar.
So, He waited for him to fall sick. He refused to respond to their call, because healing him would not bring much glory. When he was dying on his sick bed, Jesus announced to His disciples not to panic:
When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death,
but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
He told them, the sickness of Lazarus was not unto death, but that God might be glorified through it. Whao! I never knew, there is a type of sickness, afflictions, infirmity that were meant for God to be glorified. I never knew until I understood the story of Lazarus, the friend of Jesus.
If Jesus had showed up at the time Lazarus had just died and his dead body was warm, He would have raised him up immediately. But that miracle was no longer special at the time of Jesus. He had done it severally to many people including the only daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:41-56). But he wanted something special for His friend. And He wanted some wonders to happen in the house of Mary and Martha. So He waited till the body was buried and decomposing before showing up.
35. Jesus wept.
36. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
37. And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind,
also have kept this man from dying?”
Even the Jews questioned in their heart. They wondered why Jesus who loved Lazarus so much could not prevent him from dying. I think Jesus wept, when He imagined the pain, the embarrassment and disappointment Lazarus and his family would have passed through, while they were waiting and expecting Him to come and help them.
Does that make any sense to you? That He felt your midnight cry? Your embarrassment for trusting Him? Your shame for waiting on Him to response to your tears and heart pain. He felt it too. But He has His own timing for answering every prayers. And whenever He desires to perform some special wonders in the lives of those He specially loves, He takes His time.
Show Time!!!. Miracle Time!!! He is the Resurrection and the Life. Lazarus has died for four days. The longest days for any dead body Jesus raised up in His earthly ministry. He wanted to give that Golden Medal to His friend. He wanted His friend’s name to enter the Miracles Book of Records. He reserved that honor for His friend. He called him out of the grave. Lazarus came out! No more stinking! Full of glories. Ha-a-a-a-a! The first miracle of its kind. He made Lazarus broke the record of the dead persons He had raised who stayed dead the longest. He gave the Gold Medal to His friend. That singular miracle went viral. It led to the conversion of several Jews who were hard-hearted. It raked souls into the Kingdom. God was glorified.
9. Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.
Bethany suddenly became popular, and Lazarus became point of description of Bethany. Lazarus became highly famous. He sat at the high table with Jesus. Bethany became a sudden tourist place and their house became number one in the town of Bethany. Many people were traveling down to Bethany and to see, not only Jesus, but Lazarus upon whom The Lord performed the miracles.
He became a symbol of the miraculous power of Jesus. no one gathered like that in Jairus house. Lazarus’ miracle was a Golden one. Specially reserved for him by Jesus Christ. But with a higher price of enduring shame, disgrace, embarrassment and disappointment while waiting for Jesus to answer their prayers.
An unimportant personality suddenly became a celebrity. Famous, enviable and much sought out for, in the whole environment. Jesus paid them back for all their love for Him. Many of us pray for Breakthrough, but we never wanted to wait for God to be glorified in our lives. Even when, Lazarus was dead for four days, Mary and Martha were still believing that Jesus could raise him.
Have you ever understood the full meaning of this song, when you sing it:
In my life Lord…Be Glorified! Be glorified!
In my life Lord…Be glorified…today!
Can you wait for The Lord to be glorified in your life. When you feel, you love Jesus with all your life and heart, but you feel He has unduly delayed answers to your prayers, wait and check if He is not waiting to do something new in your life.
Source: Evang. Mike Bamiloye