In the post Why You Should Send Word to Jesus, I shared that Jesus desires to demonstrate the love of God and bring glory to God. This is why were are told to bring our cares and concerns to Him. Each time we do so, we have the opportunity to have God’s character revealed resulting in our praise of Him.
Imbedded in Jesus’ desire to bring glory to God is His care or love for those whom the Father has given Him. As we see in verse three below, Mary and Martha dial into Jesus’ love for Lazarus. Notice that there was not all out appeal in desperation, but the appeal or call for help was not directly stated. Instead, the word Mary and Martha sent was simply “Lord, the one you love is sick.” Do we have to call for a helping hand when someone who loves us learns of our condition or need of assistance? The text here says, No! The text also gives us a rationale Why Jesus’ Delays are not always Denials.
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
John 2 and John 7 are two other places that show Why Jesus’ Delays are not always Denials. John 2 is the account where Jesus’ mother, Mary, tells him that they have run out of wine. Jesus’ response was “My hour has not yet come.” In John 7, Jesus’ brothers were going to the Festival of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths, which was a celebration of God’s gracious provision for the Israelites in the wilderness and the completion of the year’s harvest. There they said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. Jesus’ response was “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” In both of those cases, what appeared to be a denial by Jesus was only a delay. Jesus, nor the Father, does not do things in our time frame or in our way. God, if He chooses, does things in His own time and His own way.
Now here in John 11, we see that truth demonstrated in response to the word from Mary and Martha that Lazarus was sick. What was Jesus’ response?
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
Again, we are shown Why Jesus’ Delays are not always Denials. The focus here is not whether Jesus delays or denies but on whether God is glorified. To use a little vernacular, don’t get it twisted. God does not do things solely for us. It is about God; it will always be about God. It is God who should be glorified not us. God wants His character to be revealed in anything that He does. That is why Jesus told His mother and brothers His time had not come. He did not want to reveal too much about who He was before His time.
For us who live after Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, it is time for Him to be revealed. For us who have chosen to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord (those who Christ love), our whole purpose is to bring glory to God in and through our lives. We must have a kingdom or godly perspective to bring glory to God. To have a godly perspective, we have to substitute our circumstance in to the sentence, “This ______ will not end in _______. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” This relationship, this bankruptcy or financial hardship, this accident, this illness, or this whatever. For me at this time in my life, “This vocational or job change will not end in my family’s demise. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Watch and see how God writes this story for His glory. I will be sure to tell it.
When we learn that our lives are not about us nor about delays or denials but about God. We will be able to endure all kinds of delays and even denials because we know that God will be glorified from what we are experiencing. After all, the believer’s life is not his/her own. Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Likewise, I must give myself for the Son of God.