July 07, 2012

Too Late?

John 11:17-26

“Whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
—John 11:26


We value time! We say things like “Time is money” and “The early bird catches the worm.” We believe everything is urgent.

In our verses for today, Jesus visits Martha and Mary, whose brother Lazarus has died. They had sent word when Lazarus was sick, but Jesus didn’t come right away (John 11:1-7). Didn’t he care that his friend was dying? Yes, but he also knew God had other plans for Lazarus (see John 11:11-15, 38-44).

Still, we can sympathize with Martha. She had placed her full trust in Jesus to cure her brother. How many times had she looked out and stared down the road for a glimpse of him? When Jesus finally did arrive, she met him with tears and perhaps a bit of scolding: “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” But then she said, “I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

We have all felt frustrated when Jesus shows up later than we have wanted. Our dreams are dashed, and our confidence in him withers. But Jesus knows how we feel—and he often uses time differently than we do. Though we may not understand, he also knows what’s most important. Maybe he held Martha by the shoulders and looked her in the eyes as he said, “Whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus came to infuse our faltering faith with amazement and wonder. Do you believe this?

Jesus, forgive me for placing too much emphasis on time and much less on building my faith and trust in you. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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