“Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
This story is one I’ve known since I was a little kid. This time when I read the story I noticed a sentence I hadn’t before. Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death.” That sentence caught me. What? I thought, But Lazarus did die.
This peaked my curiosity and encouraged me to look a little deeper.
Lazarus did die, and he was in the tomb for four days. Can you imagine this from the perspective of Mary and Martha? Or of the disciples? If I was one of the disciples and I was with Jesus that day, I would be confused. Jesus? I trust you and all but…didn’t you say he wasn’t gonna die? But that would be because I’d be seeing the situation from a very human standpoint. Jesus never promised that Lazarus wouldn’t die. But he said it wouldn’t end in death. It’s hard for me to understand that because I understand death as the end of the road, and I don’t always understand the full extent of God’s power.
And as always, Jesus kept his promise. Death wasn’t the end of the story for Lazarus. Jesus raised him from the dead. I mean, that’s kinda cool.
But let us not forget that Lazarus did die. We don’t know exactly how he died, but I can assume that death is not pleasant no matter how it happens. That must have been miserable. Not only for Lazarus, but also those around him. People who loved him were with him as he suffered and died. Can you imagine the grief? The pain? The fear? The desperation? And then when he finally did die, the hopelessness?
God doesn’t promise us that we won’t go through trials. He doesn’t promise us that life is going to be easy. It says that Jesus loved Lazarus, as he loves all of us, but life wasn’t peachy. Yet Jesus was in control of the situation the whole time. He was there, confident in knowing that Lazarus would live again. We go through painful situations, and Jesus walks through it with us. And as a result of this situation, Jesus lifted Lazarus up and used his story to build His Kingdom. God can use us too, in our struggles, to build the Kingdom of God.
Hold this promise close to you today, and let Christ raise you from your grave!