Monday, May 08, 2006

The Love of Jesus

Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready for church, I was reading the eleventh chapter of John. I came across something that really stood out to me. Here is the passage in some context:

“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.’ But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.” John 11:1-6 (emphasis mine)

Now, let me just say before going any further, that I believe every word of the Bible is God-inspired and placed in its spot for a reason. The passage I quoted above is no different. What jumped off the page into my spirit are what verses 5 and 6 say- Jesus loved them, so he decided to stay a couple extra days. If he loved them so much, why would he let such a good friend die, and put his sisters through such an agonizing time? Many critics of Christ and his message would surely look at such action and try to smear the Lord. Yet, they don’t know that God has a purpose in everything we encounter in life.

Jesus decided to head to the town of Bethany, where his friends lived, and couple days after his friend died. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead for 4 days! When Martha came running to Jesus, she said, “Lord, if you were here, my brother would not have died!” (see vs. 21) Jesus told her that her brother would most certainly rise again. Martha thought he was speaking of the final resurrection, but Jesus let her know that he was the Resurrection and the life. In other words, Jesus didn’t have to wait for that last day to raise Lazarus up, he had the power to do it then. It seems that these sisters had the faith to believe that one day, Jesus would raise them up, but what they needed to know was that the resurrection power of Christ was not just a “someday” power, but present in Christ as he walked this earth.

So, why did Christ let Lazarus die? To build up the faith of these 2 sisters! He had to let them get to this point so that he could increase their faith. In short, just as verses 5 and 6 say, he did it because he loved them! In that love, he needed them to have greater faith in him. What on it’s surface seemed so final, so impossible, Jesus used for their greater good.

He does the same for us too. In a time when the westernized church wants to preach peace and good times to all who follow Christ, the truth is that not all will go smooth for the Christian. Jesus himself said that in this world, we will have trouble. No one gets a pass. If anyone has led you to believe that your problems fade away when you have Christ has lied to you. There are storms and fires and floods that we will go through. But, praise God, we don’t go through these alone! Just listen to what Isaiah says:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” Isaiah 43:2

So, if you sometimes wonder why a God that is so loving would let you go through such trying times of pain, even sickness and death, realize that he is making you stronger! Let those times of hardship build your faith up. Paul wrote in Romans 5 that our troubles work out endurance in our lives, which in turn builds up hope. And hope in the Bible is an expectation. In other words, as we endure such battles, and face such floods and fires, we get stronger, knowing that Christ is with us! As new battles begin to mount up, we can take comfort in knowing that if he was with us then, he’ll be with us now! It’s because of the great love God has for you that he lets you endure such times.

Remember what Romans 8:28 says, and it’s with this verse that I leave you:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

God bless today, my friends!

1 comment:

Henry Haney said...

You're right Bro- we did seem to be on the same page today- I promise I didn't plagiarize- LOL :)

Good word today!!