This Shall Not End in Death

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The story of Lazarus is one I really identify with.  You can read up on it in John chapter 11, but for those who have never heard it, I'll give you the condensed Tflow version right here.  Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha.  The three siblings were close to Jesus.  Jesus knew them personally and He would come and stay at there house to rest.  Lazarus becomes very sick and the two sisters send word to Jesus. When Jesus hears about Lazarus' illness, the first thing He says is "This sickness will not end in death."  Wahoo!  He is God after all and He has been healing everyone else, so it shouldn't surprise us that He would heal His friend.  However, it is what is said right after that catches my attention: "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So when He heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days" (John 11:5-6).  WHAT?????  He loves them, so He makes them wait?  How does that make sense?

To finish off the story, by the time Jesus' arrives on the scene Lazarus has died and has been dead for four days.  A crowd of people had already come to comfort the sisters and Mary and Martha are besides themselves.  But Jesus is filled with compassion and He does the unthinkable.  He raises Lazarus from the dead.

Now, that is a wonderful close to an otherwise depressing story, but the question still remains.  Why make them wait?  If Jesus had come sooner, Lazarus may have never died in the first place and He would have saved the sister's a whole lot of heartache.  It says that it was because of His love that Jesus does this, but doesn't that seem a little considerate and even rude?

In verse 14, I think we find the key to this mystery.  Jesus says, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe..."  I am convinced that God will allow us to reach the place where are circumstances seem dead and lifeless, so that we know just what He is capable of.  He allows us to reach our darkest, weakest and most desperate moments so that He can show us His strength.

It is true that Jesus could have arrived before Lazarus had ever died, but then the sisters and the village would not know the power He had to breathe life into the dead!  Jesus knew that He himself would soon go to the cross and be crucified.  When that happened, He needed for Martha, Mary and Lazarus to know that just as He had raised Lazarus from the dead that He would raise Himself.

What situations in your life seem dead?  In what areas of your life have you felt hopeless?  Perhaps this is your Lazarus moment.  Perhaps God, in your weakness, is ready to bust out His strength.  Reflect on all the times before, you thought that you would never make it through.  But by His grace, His goodness and His love, He rescued you out of the darkness and caused you to stand firm in His light.  He has done it before and He will do it again.

Remember, this will not end in death.