I have talked about several of the people in the story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection. Mary and Martha, the disciples, God and His plan for it. Today I want to talk about the crowd of Jews from Jerusalem. They came from Jerusalem to Bethany, just 2 miles away, to comfort Mary and Martha after the death of their brother. They sat with the women, they mourned – probably that includes wailing - with their friends. When Martha went out to meet Jesus, these friends stayed in the home. But when Mary also went out, they followed her to meet Jesus. They noticed how sorrowful Jesus felt (John 11:33, 35, 38). In fact they took His sorrow as evidence of His love for Lazarus and his sisters (v36). In response to these observations and remembering some of what this Jesus had already done, they wondered why He hadn’t prevented this death, because they knew he could have (v37). They had high expectations of Jesus and what He was capable of doing – healing a man who was sick unto death. Totally restoring him to health. Instead, in God’s better plan, Lazarus died. (Think about that sentence. God’s better plan included death.) Lazarus really died. The comment from Martha that he surely stinks by now proves that. But Jesus raised him to life again.
How did all this impact the people who had come a distance as comforters? They saw how Jesus loves His people. They saw that even when loved, sickness, death and sorrow come into our lives. But they also saw the resurrection of Lazarus and were amazed! Most believed God on a deeper level than ever. They believed Jesus. They put their faith in Him.
Some went and tattled to the religious and political leaders and set into motion a plan to kill Jesus.
Having seen what you have seen and experienced what you have experienced – what is your reaction? You know sickness and death come even to children. Even to God fearing, trusting people. You know that even if you believe Jesus heals, sometimes He doesn’t. You know He doesn’t always go to the cemetery and call out the name of the one you love. He did it just this once because His plan included resurrection to life on earth for Lazarus. Have you chosen to believe deeper in Jesus whose compassion sometimes overwhelms Him with sorrow? Or have you chosen to go to others and tattle – saying religion doesn’t work? Are you choosing to open your heart to let Him deal with your questions? Are you being still so that you can, eventually, know He is God? It’s your choice. But the hope and the comfort are in Him, not in tattling to others your disappointments in His action or plan in regards to you and your child.
One other thought: Lazarus died again on this earth. He had died, experienced heaven (more on this thought next week), and was brought back to this life. I can’t imagine what life was like for him between his 2 deaths. You and your child don’t have to do this twice. Surely, once is enough! All the children who have lived and died in Christ are now residing where there is no more death or pain or sorrow. (Revelation 21:4) Let us set our eyes and hearts on that same destination. It’s our hope and comfort now.