As we embark upon Holy Week, my thoughts were turned to the raising of Lazarus in John 11. Mary and Martha were grappling with the death of their only brother and left with many doubts as to why Jesus had not shown up earlier to heal him. They had sent word in plenty of time for Jesus to arrive before his impending death and yet Jesus chose to linger and not haste upon their request. John 11:4 tells us why Jesus lingered:
When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
We know later in the story that Jesus does go and raise Lazarus back to life but not before allowing the sisters time question His whereabouts and even taking time to weep for Lazarus Himself (John 11:35). Here are a few thoughts as we move into the Holy Week and dealing with the Coronavirus.
1) We may not know what the future holds…but we know who holds the future.
Mary and Martha both trusted Jesus to heal their brother before he died. They just had no idea why Jesus would let Him die. What God is up to in all of this is well beyond what any of us can imagine. But rest assured it’s going to be more than we expected and hard for us to believe. They had more faith for Jesus to do something with a half- alive man than a fully dead one. Yet Jesus seems to thrive with people who are dead to themselves and alive unto Him.
From the time He heard of Lazarus’ illness, Jesus stated clearly there was a greater purpose at hand. During this time, we must remember that God too has a greater purpose in mind. Keep trusting His purpose because you know He holds a better future for us all.
2) Jesus resurrected Lazarus…But he was a different Lazarus!
One day this virus is going to be snuffed out and we are all going to attempt to return to “normal”. However, I can assure you that once Lazarus came back, he was probably not “normal”. He saw things much differently than he had ever seen them before. Being on the other side of death has a way of doing that I believe.
Dare I say that life for us needs to not go back to “normal”? There are things that we are seeing now much differently than ever before. Let’s not have had a look at “death” and not be changed by it. Let’s not let all of this time of reflection and soul inspection go to waste by returning back to what was once “normal”. Let God create a new normal for you and for us as a Church.
3) Their faith was tested; their trust was proved.
Both sisters said the same thing: “Lord, if you’d been here my brother would not have died” (Luke 11:21,32). This means their faith was that Jesus could have done something prior to his death. (But what about after he died)?
24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
What is important to note is that the Lord allowed this to happen not to be cruel to the family but for His own glory to be revealed. When Lazarus was raised, there were people who believed and other lives were changed because of it.
45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.
Jesus raised Lazarus back to life but not before allowing him to die. There may be some things that will happen during this difficult time in our lives that won’t make much sense now…only later. Nonetheless, we must be assured of our faith and trust in Jesus. Your faith or trust in God may be tested. Remember these two things: A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted. When following God, trust is a must.”
The Lord can resurrect and put anything back into place that He desires.He can also change many lives through all of this. As we move forward into Holy Week let’s remember that He is Lord of all things, including this virus.