November 15, 2013

At First Jesus Didn't Come

John 11:1-15

When he heard that Lazarus was sick, [Jesus] stayed where he was two more days.
—John 11:6


This story is about the giver of life doing battle with the de-stroyer of life. Jesus, the Lord of life, has shown that he can heal all kinds of diseases. So his friends, Mary and Martha, send word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus is sick. He is deathly ill, and Jesus responds to this challenge from death itself.

But Jesus doesn’t respond right away. Mary and Martha surely thought that Jesus would come and heal Lazarus. He healed people before; certainly he would heal his friend, wouldn’t he?

But Jesus doesn’t come. Lazarus dies. What a tragedy for Mary and Martha! Jesus waits two days before going to their house. Why? Because he knows he isn’t going there to confront an illness. He has already shown that he can overcome illnesses. Telling his disciples that this is “for God’s glory,” Jesus knows he is going to Bethany to confront death.

We know Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’s death, if that’s what the Father had wanted. But in this case, following his Father’s will as usual, Jesus knew that this challenge was about defeating Lazarus’s death.

And death is our greatest enemy, isn’t it?

It is wonderful that Jesus heals us of many illnesses! But ulti-mately he defeats our death—and that is the Savior we need.

Thank you, Lord, for so often healing us and granting our requests. But help us understand we need you even more to defeat death for us, to give us eternal life. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Stob

Rev. Harvey Stob and his wife, Audrey, served as missionaries in Argentina for eleven years. They then served churches in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ridgewood, New Jersey; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Harvey retired from full-time pastoral work in 2009. He and Audrey have three children and seven grandchildren.

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