Tuesday, April 12, 2011

He's Never Too Late...

"...It is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." 
(John 11: 4)

Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was a good friend of Jesus and His disciples.   And in sharing such a friendship, I am sure that you and I would expect that when Jesus and the disciples get word from Lazarus's sisters of his deathly sickness, that the ONE who heals, his dear friend, Jesus, would immediately come to his rescue and bedside...BUT,Jesus DOES NOT...Actually, when Jesus heard the message from Lazarus's siblings, He replied, "This sickness will not end in death.  No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it" (John 11:4), and STAYED right where he was for an additional two days!

Now let's pause right here...
If I were good friends with someone, whom I knew could help my brother who was on his sick bed, and that good friend lingers on for two additional days, instead of coming right over to our house to console me and possible heal my brother, I WOULD NOT be at PEACE and WOULD NOT be able to take it so LIGHTLY!

I would be anxious...I would be concerned that if He did not arrive in-time, it would be TOO LATE and my brother may die...I would be thinking all types of thoughts, and trying to understand why someone who was so close to our family and loved us so much would not feel that it was imperative enough to stop what they were doing, end their trip early, and come running to our rescue, IMMEDIATELY!  Didn't He realize the time factor involved in His arrival to deliver us in this time of need?  Why would He delay?  Does He really care for us?  How is this going to end?  My brother may surely die now...

I mean, even His disciples where concerned about His actions and reluctance to stop things short and turn around to head to Lazarus's aid.  They begin to question Him and even suggest that His decision to continue on the Judea (instead of heading straight to Lazarus) may present them with some possible danger; thus, He should change the plans and head back to Bethany.  But Jesus, calmly and in no hurry, explains to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep: but I am going there to wake him up...Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad.  I was not there, so that you may believe." (John 11:11 & 14).  And eventually (probably due to the anxiety and lack of faith of His disciples), Jesus decides, "...let us go to him."

And guess what...During all this time of lingering, all this time of the disciples trying to convince Jesus to get right to Lazarus, all this time that Mary and Martha were most likely in deep despair, Lazarus, in fact DIES.  And not only is he dead, but so dead that he has been lying in the tomb for about 4 days and is probably stinking with the bad odor of decay, when Jesus FINALLY shows up!  I know that if I were Mary or Martha, I would have thrown in the towel on this prayer and decided that it was obviously not God's will for my brother to be healed and live.  I may even be a bit upset with God, because I would have felt that He was fully capable to have saved my brother and chose not to.  

So when Jesus does finally arrive, Martha says to Him,  “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21) And even when Jesus said that Lazarus would rise again, she said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:24).  She had given up all hope that deliverance and victory were still possible for her NOW, right then and there!  She'd assumed, as I might have, this one is TOO LATE...TOO FAR GONE!  Mary even held the same sentiments as Martha, "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died." (John 11:32)

But, you see, Jesus had a plan (as always)!  And although Mary, Martha, and the disciples where all bent out of shape and had considered Lazarus's situation as a time-factored issue, Jesus was not moved.  Time and assumed urgency did not move Jesus, because He KNEW WHO HE WAS and He KNEW WHAT HE WAS CAPABLE OF DOING!  He knew that He had the ability to heal Lazarus not just from his illness, but from DEATH as well.  Time was not a factor with Him, because He was aware of His power over situations of death.  However, it is also important to realize that Jesus was not only assured of His own capabilities in this situation, but He had a greater plan:  His healing abilities after such a delay and Lazarus being dead to the point of foul odor, would result in a greater glory to God, than if He had just shown up right away and healed his friend from a sickness.  

So, as I end this story, we find that Jesus was NOT TOO LATE and will NEVER BE TOO LATE for us in our "near death" situations and circumstances.  Though His coming to our aid may seem so delayed and late, when He does show up, He can speak a few simple words, "Lazarus, come out!", and our "Lazarus circumstances" can instantly come to life and walk out of a tomb, alive, well, and complete!  He is a God of resurrection power and He is NEVER TOO LATE!...He just may have a GREATER PLAN in mind!

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