When someone we care about has an illness or health crisis, it’s very difficult to watch them suffer. We hurt, because they hurt. There is concern over whether they will get well or not. We pray for healing, but sometimes it isn’t God’s will to heal. In the Bible, we find the story of Lazarus’ illness and death and even though Lazarus is dead, when Jesus arrived, Mary and Martha found hope.
To find hope, we must go to Jesus
Lazarus, Mary, and Martha were friends of Jesus. In fact, the Bible records that it was this Mary that anointed Jesus with oil and wiped His feet with her hair. When Lazarus became sick, his sisters did the only thing they knew to do – they sent for Jesus. They had complete hope and faith that Jesus could heal him. And yet, we don’t find Jesus dropping everything and running full speed to Lazarus’ bedside. He already knew what He was going to do and why, and in order to fulfill His will, it meant that Lazarus must die first. So Jesus hangs out where He was for another two days. Then He says to His disciples, “Let’s go to Judea.”
Why did Lazarus die?
For the disciples, there was great concern for Jesus heading back to Judea. The last time Jesus was there, the Jews sought to stone him. They try to remind Jesus of that and they say, “And you want to go back there?! Really?”
So Jesus tells them that Lazarus has fallen asleep and that He must go wake Him up. Still worried for Jesus’ safety, the disciples reply, “That’s a good thing. Let’s let him sleep. If he is sleeping he will get well.” So Jesus bluntly informs them that Lazarus is dead. But there is purpose in Lazarus’ death. Jesus tell the disciples that it was a good thing that He did not go to Lazarus and that he had died so that the disciples would believe. On this day Jesus would raise Lazarus from the dead so that the disciples would have hope when Jesus died and was resurrected.
Lazarus’ resurrection would give hope to the disciples…and us
The miracle of raising Lazarus from dead anticipated Jesus’ own resurrection. In John 11:25, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” By raising Lazarus from the dead, rather than just healing him, Jesus gave proof to His words. So as puzzling as it may seem for Jesus to linger where He was for two days before coming to Bethany, it served to reveal God’s glory and to show the people an even harder miracle. One that would prepare them for the day when Jesus would be resurrected from the dead after the cross. For us today, it also gives us hope of our own resurrection into eternal life.
Martha’s confusion changed to hope
I am sure Mary and Martha were confused and maybe even hurt that Jesus didn’t come when they asked Him to. In fact in verse 21, Martha says to Jesus, “If you had come, he would not have died.” But then in faith, she followed the accusation with, “But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Lazarus was dead, but Martha had hope that Jesus could ask God to bring him back again. The simple fact is that with Jesus, hopelessness turns into hope and the moment that Jesus arrived, Martha had hope again.
We many not always understand, but we always have hope
We may not understand why God chooses to heal some people and others are not healed. But we can trust that God is always in control and if He chooses not to heal, then He has a reason and a purpose – one that will bring Him glory. Sometimes, that means our loved ones step out of this world and enter eternity – but what a glorious eternity when spent in the presence of God.
Can you imagine Lazarus’ disappointment to leave the glory of heaven and the presence of God to return to this broken world and to have to face death all over again? The Bible doesn’t really tell us Lazarus’ reaction to finding himself back in his mortal body and living again. In fact, because Jesus raised him from the dead, the chief priests began plotting how to kill him – again. But just as His death served a purpose, so did his being raised from the dead.
Would your hope return if Jesus arrived today?
Put Martha’s words to Jesus in your mouth. If Jesus came to you today and you said, “Jesus, if you had just been here two days ago….” how would that sentence be finished for you? Do you have the same faith that Martha did to then say, “But now that you’re here, I know whatever you ask of God, He will give it to you?” Would your hope return the moment Jesus arrived? Are you able to trust God that even if you don’t understand why that prayer wasn’t answered that God is working all things out for your good and His glory?
Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template
Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.[Download not found]
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We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.[Download not found]
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With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out![Download not found]
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The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.
Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.[Download not found]
This week’s featured Christian Tees designs:
In every battle and every situation, our first response should be to get on our knees in prayer. When life brings us to our knees, the battle isn’t over, it’s just begun. So no matter what happens in life, stop worrying, stressing, panicking, overthinking, assuming, controlling, and wondering. Just pray.
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
- Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
- Conversation Starters.
- Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
- Romance Builders.
- Relationship Builders.
- Personal reflections.
- Date ideas.
- Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.
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