A Glorious Death

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“This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” John 11:4
Few days ago, I read about Jesus being asked by his disciples why a man was born blind – was it because of his sins or his parents’. Jesus replied that it was so God’s works would be displayed in him. John 9:1-3

Today, my reading (John 11:1-29) is about Jesus being told that his friend, Lazarus, the friend that he loved was sick. Jesus gave a similar reply to the one from the story of the blind man. That God would be glorified through the sickness (and death) of Lazarus… that the Son of God (Jesus) may be glorified as well.

This is how the story goes…
1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. 7 Then after this He *said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples *said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

(How come Jesus did not go to Lazarus right away? Why did he stay two days longer after learning that his beloved friend was sick? Was it because the Jews were seeking to kill Jesus? What a strange reply Jesus gave… about 12 hours in the day, walking during the day not in the night…

This is what I found from Ellicott’s commentary for English readers:
They had expressed their fears that danger and death would be the result of going into Judæa. His answer would say that the darkness of the night which they dreaded could not come yet. The natural night would come not until its appointed hour, until the twelve hours of the day had run their course. The day of His life is marked out by limits no less sure. The night indeed cometh, but it is as yet full day, and in that day He and they must do the work which is appointed of the Father. https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/11-9.htm
Jesus’ response to their concern for his death was that although his death (night) was near, it was still day and they still have time to walk and work in the day.

11 This He said, and after that He *said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” 16 Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.”
17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother.
20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

Martha was a practical person. She believed that her brother would be healed if only Jesus were there in time. There was no blame in her response because she believed that even now – that Lazarus was dead, Jesus would do something – that God would grant whatever Jesus asked of Him.

23 Jesus *said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”(Jesus assured her that Lazarus will live again. Martha thought that he referred to the resurrection – believers who die physically will one day live again in a new body. Jesus took the opportunity to teach Martha a new truth: That He is the resurrection and the life. This is the heart of the gospel – that we who believe in Jesus will have eternal life. Though our physical body may die, we shall live again. To never die refers to the salvation from everlasting death in hell.

What did Jesus teach about this story of Lazarus’ sick and death? Why did Jesus wait 2 days longer to go to Lazarus?
1) Sickness does not end in death (only) but to bring glory to God. v. 5
2) That the time of his death though near, he still needs to walk and work in the day. v. 9-10
3) So that the disciples would believe… v. 15 Lazarus is already dead. Jesus told them that he was glad he was not there when Lazarus died so that they would believe.. in what? That Lazarus’ sickness was one which would not end in death but glory for God.
4) The truth of the resurrection and the life – Jesus is our way to eternal life v. 25-26

Many things in life are sad – sickness and death are realities we cannot escape from. We, Christians draw comfort in the fact that we have hope in Jesus. He enables us to live life victoriously – to shine for God. Our trials in life are opportunities to glorify God.

Today, we might not see any Lazarus at all – no one rising from the death. Yet believers who died in the LORD shall rise again when Jesus returns. This is our hope.

It is a reminder for me to persevere and keep at working – doing the work that God wants me to do… to keep writing and keep telling people about God’s Word – about His Works – the things that He is doing in my life so that people will know God and God’s name will be glorified. So help me God, Amen

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