Sickness and death do not indicate that God has rejected someone or that they have done something wrong. Neither we nor our loved ones are exempt from sickness or death. In John chapter 11 close friends of Jesus, that Jesus loved were experiencing sickness and death, yet he did not rush to spare them grief. The presence of pain and suffering in the lives of faithful disciples of Jesus can teach us that as Christians we do not have different experiences in life, rather, we experience life differently with Christ. Our hope in Jesus does not insulate us from life’s difficulties, but it does provide a way through and beyond them. God can use difficult experiences to make us more compassionate servants for him as we console others.
In today’s passage out of John 11, we will see two ladies, Mary and Martha who felt hopeless and angry. Their brother Lazarus was sick and dying, but Jesus did not go to help. Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus but did not help them when they expected it. This is an interesting picture of Jesus, someone who doesn’t immediately take us out of our situations. Maybe you’re a little uncomfortable with that image. But there was a reason, which we will see. Jesus eventually came through for Mary, Martha and Lazarus and He will come through for you. Like Mary, Martha and Lazarus we too need to know that life and faith will be difficult. They needed Jesus to help them through difficult times and we will too.
I NEED JESUS BECAUSE…
Sickness And Death Will Be A Part Of My Life
1 A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha…3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”
There are many questions that immediately come to mind when we read through chapter 11 of John. Why was Lazarus sick? Why did Jesus wait two days after hearing Lazarus was sick? Why did Lazarus have to die? The questions are endless.
And so are the questions we often have as we go through our own type of difficulty and dillema. The “whys” of life can drive us crazy.
Understand that Jesus loved Lazarus. The Bible is very clear on that. Jesus loved him, but Lazarus was sick! You can be a friend of Jesus and still be sick! You can love Jesus and still be sick! That’s pretty clear in the scriptures. The love of God does not exempt one from sickness or sorrow or physical death.
Our sickness could be a number of things: physical, emotional, mental, family problems, and so on. Sickness can be termed as “that which causes any area to be infected with imperfection.” Here on earth human nature is infected with imperfection.
Even If He Delays Helping He Is In Control So I Should Keep My Faith
5 Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days and did not go to them. 7 Finally after two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.”
17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days.
Jesus waited two days before he came to help. John says “finally!” he goes. When your waiting on God to answer a prayer, for Jesus to help you it seems like forever. When he does help you may feel like saying “finally!” It says in verse 17 that “when he arrived Lazarus has been in his tomb for 4 days”
Have you noticed the attitude of Jesus as he heard the news of Lazarus’ sickness? He knew that Lazarus was dying but it didn’t seem to affect Jesus at all. He just kept doing what he needed to do. Jesus wasn’t upset in the least for he already knew what was going to happen when he reached Bethany. He already knew that there were no impossible situations and that his power to bring about a resurrection was not limited by any circumstances.
I think it would help us greatly to realize that our seemingly hard or impossible circumstances are nothing to God. His power transcends our trouble. His power is not limited by our faithlessness or our hopelessness. Jesus has resurrection power and he cannot only bring victory when we haven’t given up hope, but he is just as able to bring us the victory after we have long given up hope.
When it seems that our finances have already died and the stink is beginning to arise; when it seems that our health is completely gone and the doctors have given up on us; when it seems that God has waited too long and the stink of our unbelief, distrust, and hopelessness rises; that’s when Jesus is ready to show His power and glory in us.
When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, the family of Lazarus was long past having hope. Lazarus was already dead, buried and his grave was sealed. One of worst lies we can believe is “it’s over and there is nothing that God can or will do about it now.” It could come from our own disbelief or from the enemy’s whisper. If he can get you to give up on God, then the he has accomplished his goal.
That should be our first indication that God isn’t finished with us yet because the devil can’t speak the truth, therefore we should realize that God’s answer is still coming in his own time and in His own way. Just keep on trusting and having faith in God.
Perhaps your prayer seems that it will never be answered. We find ourselves in distress over finances, relationships within the family, and any number of things and it seems that God has turned a deaf ear to your cry. Things have gone from very bad to much worse and now there is no visible way to make things right.
You are wrapped up in doubt and fear. Your faith is blinded; your hands and feet are bound up from working for the Lord. A stone of unbelief has been rolled across the door to your heart and has now convinced you that your attitude, your heart and your life stinks to God so it’s time to quit and walk away. You are shrouded in a tomb of darkness and your spiritual grave is sealed and your life is over and hopeless.
Why does Jesus let us go so far before he comes? Why must we sometimes get so deep into our trouble and our attitudes begin to stink before he comes to our rescue? Jesus wants us to know that it’s not in our power to overcome our problems and our own sinful hearts. That power must come through “His Resurrection Power” It will come in his time and in his manner. But we must remain hopeful, not bitter. We should be pleasant not stinky.
Jesus arrived in Bethany four days after they’d buried Lazarus. Martha greeted him first, and told him, Lord, if only you had been here YOU could have saved him. And Jesus said: “Lazarus will rise again.” Martha knew enough about Jewish theology to know that one day, all the graves will open and the dead will rise from them. She said: “I know he will rise again in the resurrection of the dead.”
Martha wouldn’t be comforted, I know about the resurrection — but that’s so far off. Jesus then uttered the basis for all history’s hope and direction – “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE!”
What a claim! Jesus claimed to be in charge of everything: life, death, the afterlife and everything between.
Death is the great equalizer in life. We may all have different lives, come from different backgrounds, experience different joys and sorrows, but the one thing that links all mankind together is death. We are all going to die.
Some of the questions that mankind has tried to answer about death are:
Is death the end? Is there life after death? Why is there death? Will we live again?
We will see that Jesus answers these questions in our next post. Plus we will see that Jesus enters our pain and sorrow and shares it with us. He is no stranger to grief.