We were all refreshing ourselves – that’s me and the Twelve, and many of my other followers— by the banks of the Jordan. I love these guys. Many of them have left their families to follow me. Some have brought their whole families along to join us. These people received the words of life into their hearts like bread, and I hoped that they would digest it. Just like we were digesting the meal we were eating at that moment. And it was a very refreshing one, I remember, especially after hours of teaching.
Andrew brought a young man to me. “Master, this is Ethan,” he said. “He brings news from Mary and Martha in Bethany.”
I recognized Ethan from the brief times we spent in Bethany. “Peace be to you, Ethan.”
“And to you, Master.”
“All the way from Bethany? You must be exhausted from the journey—”
He shook his head, barely blinking. “Your people have been very kind to me, sir. But I could not eat now, even if I wanted to.”
I nodded. “And why would you not want to?” I noticed the shadow over his features. Andrew knew it too. He had mentioned only Mary and Martha. “And how is my good friend, Lazarus?”
Ethan looked up at me. “That’s why I’m here, Master. Lazarus, your friend, is terminally ill. He needs you. Master.”
And that was the moment. The moment that altered the rest of the week.
With a word I could have healed him in that moment. Human logic and emotion required me to. I would have loved to. Lazarus. He has been a faithful man, taking care of his parents’ estate since their deaths. No ordinary suitor could take his sisters, not while he was around. And his generosity is overwhelming. His doors are always open to my disciples and I every time we pass through Bethany. Always willing to understand my teachings, Lazarus is a man I am glad to call my friend.
Healing him would bring joy to his sisters. They’ve been troubled long enough because of this sickness.
But I am never alone in these matters. My Father and I go through them together. He knew what was going on. He knew when the foul spirit of sickness took my friend’s body, and His ears were not silent to his cries and those of his sisters. But He had a much better, much Bigger plan.
That was how I knew that Lazarus, my friend, would die.
But the story would not end there. Like I said, We had a Bigger plan:
We would raise Lazarus to life from the dead! 😀
It would be amazing. This would build faith on a grand scale. Especially for Lazarus. He would have a front row seat on Resurrection before most people would. How great his faith would be at the end of all this, for all to see!
This will turn the eyes of many up to my Father, a big boost to their faith. They will see how awesome He is, and what He can do; that He can do anything! They will believe in me, the one He has sent. And my disciples, people like Andrew and even Ethan too, will be stronger witnesses of me and the Life I have come to give.
In the end, this would be best for Lazarus.
But to Ethan, Lazarus was still sick. He still stood there, staring at me, waiting for a response.
“This sickness would not end in death,” I said to him. “But it will be an opportunity for everyone to see how awesome God is, and what He can do. And His Son will be glorified as well.”
“So … you’ll come and heal him then?”
I smiled. ‘Healing’ would not cut it. Just not in the way they were expecting. Ethan bowed and left with a finality, sure that Lazarus would be fine, wondering why I did not follow him.
Mary and Martha would not be pleased at first. Death has always brought pain and despair, especially to the families of those it takes. It would no doubt bring more here. We take no pleasure in that. I am here to bring an end to Death’s tyrannical rule over mankind. But until then, the pain would still linger.
I know there is a glorious end to these things, but the journey to that end would be painful for me and for my friends. For Mary and Martha.
But my Father loves them much more than any human could. The pain and disappointment this death could cause were temporary and inconsequential compared to the Greater Glory waiting beyond this. When God is glorified, what they’ll have is much better than if it were another healing. I loved him too much to settle for that. Something much greater awaited him. There’s a Bigger Picture here.
I love my friend, Lazarus.
And that’s why I waited and let him die…
…For a time.
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. [They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem.]
Therefore [even] when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was.
JOHN 11:5, 6 (The Amplified Bible)
To be continued…in FAITH
>> and HOPE