I don’t know what got in to me. I was suddenly impressed to read again the story of Lazarus. I’ve heard and read it several times before but this time it was so different. Questions like, “What is so special about this family that Jesus wept for Lazarus’ death?” “Why did Jesus wait for four days before going to Bethany?” have been answered long before. But after reading the story again, they seemed to have different impact on me. I’ve learned something that I didn’t before.
Jesus had no home of His own. He is dependent on His friends and disciples. In their homes Jesus found refuge and peace after a weary day of ministering to sick people and teaching them about God. Lazarus and his family are special friends of Jesus. In this home, our Savior could speak with freedom and need not to talk to them in parables. Even Martha and Mary were an appreciative listeners of Jesus. Lazarus love for the Savior is unmatched and he was greatly loved by Jesus. It is for Lazarus that the greatest miracle of Christ was performed.
When Lazarus was stricken with a deadly disease, his sisters sent words for Jesus. They knew that He is able to heal all manner of diseases, so they didn’t demand for His immediate response. They knew that Jesus would not let His beloved friend be taken away by death.
Anxiously Martha and Mary waited for Him to come while their brother still has life left in him, but four days passed and not a word from Jesus came. When Lazarus died, they were disappointed. Even the disciples thought that Jesus took the news lightly. His delay was a mystery to them. They all knew of the His affection he has to the family in Bethany.
After four days, Jesus told His disciples that they’re going to Judea, where Bethany is located. If Jesus is going to Judea, why did he tarry for four days? Why didn’t He go there while Lazarus was still alive?
“They had been disappointed because Christ did not respond more promptly to the message. They had been tempted to think that He had not the tender love for Lazarus and his sisters that they had thought He had, or He would have hastened back with the messenger. But the words, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleepeth,’ awakened right feelings in their minds. They were convinced that Christ had not forgotten His suffering friend… then Jesus said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe…
The disciples marveled at Christ’s words when He said, ‘Lazarus is dead. and I am glad…that I was not there.’ Did the Savior by His own choice avoid the home of His suffering friends? Apparently May and Martha and the dying Lazarus were left alone. But they were not alone. ” – Desire of Ages, p. 708, 709
Had Jesus been in the sickroom, Lazarus would not have died. God permitted Lazarus to die. Christ knew that Mary and Martha’s faith in Him will be tested. Not because His coming was delayed doesn’t mean that He loved them less.
“In delaying to come to Lazarus, Christ had a purpose of mercy toward those who had not received Him. He tarried, that by raising Lazarus from the dead He might give to His stubborn, unbelieving people another evidence that He was indeed ‘the resurrection, and the life.’ ” – Desire of Ages, p. 711
When Jesus went to the place where Lazarus was buried, many people followed Him. Among them were Pharisees and Jews who were so anxious to have Him killed. He was moved by our sorrows and grief. At Lazarus’ tomb, the Son of God wept. He did not wept for Lazarus, for He is about to call Him to life, but He wept for those who are mourning with them and yet were planning to put Him to death as soon as possible. Christ wept for humanity that has fallen so deep into transgression.
Four days buried, Lazarus body was starting to decompose. These four days are enough to prove to the unbelieving people, especially the Pharisees, that no deception was wrought in the miracle that Jesus did. For in the past, whenever Christ raise a dead person to life, the Pharisees would circulate false statements that there’s deception to the manifestation of Christ’s power to raise the dead.
“Here the disciples and the people were to be given the most convincing evidence in regard to the relationship existing between Christ and God. They were to be shown that Christ’s claim was not a deception.” of Ages, p. 720
What I’ve learned:
1. God’s delay is a perfect timing for us.
2. God allows/permits us to suffer circumstances for a while for the greater good. In every delay, He has greater reasons than what we could ever think of. Not because the answers to our prayers don’t come on time doesn’t mean He loves us less. It is always for our good.
We shall see that our seemingly unanswered prayers and disappointed hopes have been among our greatest blessings.
3. He is an amazing God…He is always on time!
Let me share to you this wonderful video about how great our God is when is comes to TIMING!