“So Jesus then told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died. I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.’”
Where is Our Hope?
“It would take a miracle.” Have you ever been in a situation where this idea was stated or implied? It’s not usually a happy-go-lucky day. There’s been a mishap, an accident, or something unexpected. And now there’s little to no hope. We know what it’s like to be in need of a miracle.
Most of us have been in this situation at least once. And even as the words are uttered or merely thought, we wonder, “Is there actually hope?” So, the questions must be asked: “Do you believe a miracle is coming?”
In Our Sadness and Shock
The disciples are having a rough time. Their rabbi—their friend—has been threatened. They’ve had to flee. He’s saying things that indicate that He’s leaving, and they don’t understand. And now, on top of everything else, they find that their friend is dead.
When you are stressed, it’s easy to miss words that people say—even whole sentences. It’s obvious they hear, “Lazarus has died.” And we know that they definitely hear, “But let’s go to him,” since they basically respond with shocked statements.
Are We Missing The Point?
Today, we might ask, “Are you crazy?!” They are confused as to what would make Jesus return to the area where people are trying to kill Him. But they completely miss the middle sentence: “I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe.”
In this chapter, that sentence is easily missed. So many of us focus on the compassion of Jesus when He wept or the grief of the sisters as they run to Jesus. The crescendo of this chapter, of course, is the resurrection of Lazarus! So, it’s easy to see why this sentence isn’t a focus for many. But, oh, the implications it has!
But Jesus Knew
Jesus didn’t have to wait two days before heading out to see about Lazarus. He could have left with the messenger immediately. It probably took a day for the messenger to arrive and then another day for them to arrive at the tomb. But Jesus knew.
Jesus knew that His friend had been dead long enough for the grief to settle in and for all their hope to be lost. He also knew that very shortly He would be leaving them. But the next few lessons are the most important of all. He had healed the sick, the deaf, the blind…but to bring back the dead to live among them once again? What a miracle! Something that cannot be denied as such! This is something to hang your hat on and believe.
Warren Wiersbe reminds us that God’s love for His own is not a pampering love; it is a perfecting love. As difficult as it is during our own needing-a-miracle moment, let’s take time to truly believe and glorify God. It may not always be the answer that we want—but it is always the answer we need.