Jesus let him die.

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I’ll make this post short and sweet because I am typing this with one hand (I broke my hand at Vacation Bible School, for real).

In John chapter 11 there is a man named Lazarus who is about to die, and his two sisters send for Jesus (Lazarus’ friend who just happens to be in the business of healing people. Cha-ching).

But Jesus’ response is shocking.

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” John 11:5-6 

In case you didn’t catch what just happened, instead of running to heal Lazarus, Jesus waited around a few more days so he would die. And the reason given in the texts is because Jesus loved him.

Let that sink in. Because Jesus loved Lazarus, He let him die. (What?!)

Now here’s the obvious question: How is Jesus letting his friend die rather than heal him loving?

If you read the whole chapter, Jesus makes it clear that this sickness does not lead to ultimate death, but it is for the glory of God. And of course four days later Jesus stands at his tomb and raises him from the dead, showing Himself to be the “resurrection and the life.”

Big truth: Jesus is more concerned with His forever glory than your immediate good. 

The sisters assumed Lazarus’ biggest need was healing, but Jesus knew Lazarus’ greater need (and theirs) was to behold His eternal glory as the the eternal Son. After all a healing miracle would have lasted for a little while, but Jesus’ glorious defeat over sin and death will last for all eternity.

Here’s the thing. We usually want Jesus to meet our needs and fix our problems, but often Jesus is into something much bigger.

Sometimes instead of answering our prayers and taking away our suffering, Jesus instead holds our hand and lets us see the glory of His presence through our suffering.

The truth is Jesus could have saved Lazarus, Mary, and Martha a lot of pain and suffering by showing up at his bedside and healing his sickness. But without suffering unto death, Lazarus would not have witness firsthand the glory of Christ’s power over death. 

And from this side of his empty tomb, I think Lazarus would choose the greater glory of the resurrection over the immediate good of healing.

So the next time Jesus seems to be stalling, look up. Because beholding His glory is better than your right now good.

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