John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.
Lazarus was sick and was down to death, but Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death.” It doesn’t matter as to what your experience is and what people around say about your situation. What matters is what the Lord has said, because at the end, what the Lord has said will be accomplished. Martha and Mary sent their request to Jesus at the proper time and they received an answer from the Lord. Here, in His grace, I want to glean something that Martha and Mary failed to understand from the answer to their petition. The literal meaning of death is the “end” and here, the sickness of Lazarus was a test. God will test his children, and in some cases, he gives surprise tests too …So the main idea is that we should pray for grace to face the test. When Jesus said that the sickness was not unto death, He meant to say that “this test is not your end”. God’s testing doesn’t mean that He is ending, but in fact He is beginning. When a potter completes making vessels, he puts them on fire and interestingly, the stronger one are kept at the bottom and the weaker ones are laid over them….Now the stronger ones might ask the potter, “why have you put me on fire and why have you laid others on me?” The potter will answer, “even though you are complete, the color of your mud must change to red.” So God has a purpose for your going through fire. He wants to change the color of your texture…Are we living a colorless Christian life? If yes, expect the fire test soon…God wants his children to walk with Him. So, the testing is for a higher walk with God.
Joseph was tested for thirteen long years. But he asked help from a man once i.e. the butler. But the butler did not remember him. There too, God taught him something. If we were in his stage, we would have approached many…Even the greatest among women, John the Baptist doubted when he was tested. Abraham, father of nations, fumbled while being tested. All through out the scriptures, I found only one MAN who did not doubt His Father…and He is Jesus Christ. When the devil tempted Jesus to make bread out of the stones, He did not yield in order to prove the devil that he is indeed the Son of God. A few moments before, the heaven had opened and a loud voice had declared Jesus as the ‘beloved Son of God.’ Had Jesus turned the stones into bread, it would mean that he had doubted the voice of the Father….But he replied the devil that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that cometh from the mouth of God”.
As we all know that Lazarus was dead, in spite of Jesus saying that his sickness was not unto death. Because of this, the sisters had lost their complete faith in Jesus as for their brother’s case. Is there anyone who is going through this kind of situation? You believed initially that God would work in your case, but in the mid way, everything is going against the promise which is pulling down your faith every moment? In the scriptures, I found two things that challenge the promises of God. They are:
1) Devil will not sit calm : If you have a promise of God in you, the devil is jealous and will try to do all sorts of things to make you loose His promise. If there is a promise, then there is an attack. And if there is no promise, there is no attack.
2) Situations will be against the promise– This is because that God’s thoughts and ways are different from ours.
Chances of losing faith when things go against expectations– This happens almost to every Christian. When we hear a promise, we scale it with our thoughts and ways and expect the situations to move in that angle. But God never told us about His ways of making the promises come to pass. He has his own ways to work them out. So when we hear promises, leave the ways of the same to God. Why was Joseph sold as a slave? It was because of the promise that he would become a master. Did Joseph try his ways to become a master? No! He waited upon God and left the ways to that promise in the hands of God. And we all know the result of that…Indeed, he became the master!
At some point of time, even Noah thought that he would be drowned in the flood, but he was saved at the end…The apostle, John thought that his ministry is finished when he was sent to the island of Patmos, but that was only a beginning. For what seems to be the ‘end’ in our eyes turns out to be the ‘beginning’ in the eyes of the Lord. So to overcome this, do not see things in our perception. Ask God to give grace to face and see through God’s lens. Are we really looking through God’s lens or through man made lens? Let me tell you today that, God’s lens is magnified. We can see things clear and closer. Does the promise seem to be far for you? Seek to see through God’s lens. In other words, if our inner eyes are opened, we can see with certainty in the midst of uncertainty.
The family of Bethany went through some tests. When the situations worked against their faith, they started to fumble. We can see that from the reply of Martha and Mary. They said “Lord if you had been here, our brother wouldn’t have died”. They meant to say that Jesus was not present while they went through this test. Was Jesus was not aware of the things that were going? He even knew when exactly, Lazarus breathed last. “The one who breathed life into the nostrils knew when the life went”. We may think that God has abandoned us while we are tested. But remember that He is fully aware of all things that we are going through. Martha had no faith that Jesus could raise her brother. So she said that her brother would rise in the day of resurrection. Is there anyone who has lost all the hope in the turmoil, and is expecting nothing to happen in their life? Jesus has the power to give back the life, because he is resurrection and life. Further, V35, the smallest verse of the bible says,
“Jesus wept”. Even though it is the smallest, it has a great meaning. A true friend is one who smiles, when you smile and cries when you cry. Jesus was present with Mary and Martha every moment. He never forsook them….Here is a message for you and me…He will never leave us orphans!
Jesus did not remove the stone from the tomb of Lazarus. But He asked ‘them’ to take away the stone. Whoever had laid the stone was asked to remove it. Are there any stones of unbelief or sin in us? Don’t expect God to remove them. We must remove them ourselves.
What is that stone in our life that is hindering Jesus? They had laid that stone in front of the tomb. In other words, they had laid the stone of unbelief in front of their answer. It is not our neighbors or our relatives who are responsible for the delay in the fulfillment of our promises. It’s the stones that we have laid ourselves…Let us remove that first and believe what God has told us. Lazarus could rise from the dead only when the stone was removed. Jesus could speak to the dead only when the stone was removed. Have we laid any stone of our father’s tradition, fashions of this world, doubt, grumbling etc.? Then let’s take that stone away. There are stones which only God can remove but there are stones which we must remove! God testing is not the ending! Let us put our trust in the Lord because he never fails! God can move mountains and heavens but he cannot move from His word!
Let us abide in Him and bear much fruit
God bless you
Covered by the membrane of His grace