Today’s Manna – The Death of Lazarus Part 2

1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. John 11:1-6 

In the previous “Today’s Manna” we talked about this same passage and we determined that Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary and Martha. They were friends of His. He ate at their house in Bethany, preached and taught there, and probably slept there at least once. Now, when they need him the most, because Lazarus is ill, Jesus doesn’t come. In fact, He stays in the Transjordan area another two days before striking out toward the town of Bethany. Of course by then we know that Lazarus has already died. 

Being a friend of Jesus’ should buy me some kind of special privileges right? Shouldn’t my needs be put at the front of the line before people He doesn’t even know? Since He’s my friend, I ought to be able to believe that things will go easier for me shouldn’t I? Anyone who has been a friend of Jesus’ for any length of time realizes that being His friend doesn’t mean that life is automatically going to be easier. In fact, being a friend of Jesus often makes the day-to-day life experience harder in a sense. Maybe my “it’s-all-about-me” focus is what’s messed up. Maybe my friendship with Jesus really is all about Him. His Glory, His will, His timing, His grace and mercy. And, because of His grace and mercy, and our close relationship, when I do encounter difficulties, crisis, or even catastrophe, He will walk with me through them, giving me “all that I need” (2 Peter 1:3) to face whatever gets put in front of me…of course, all for His glory.

Today’s Manna – John 11:1-6

The Death of Lazarus, Part 1

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. John 11:1-6

We see in this passage that Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, were friends of Jesus’ – people He loved. Jesus had been to Bethany at least once before (Luke 10), and had shared a meal with the family. Throughout the story of Lazarus, it is written several times that Jesus loved them. So, how could it be that Jesus loved them and yet did not go immediately to help, to heal Lazarus? Why wouldn’t He have dropped everything and gone to Bethany – He’d been healing so many people during his ministry thus far – why not His friend?

Jesus stayed where he was in the Transjordan area for many reasons; one of which was to continue doing what he had been called there to do. He continued walking in the will of His Father, God. Jesus told us in John 4:34 that “His food was to do the will of God”. Jesus had been given a task by God and He completed it before heading to Bethany. So often in life we are side-tracked from our Divine purpose because someone has another task for us to do, and if we refuse, we often feel guilty, less-than, and even ashamed.

God tells us in Jeremiah that He knows the plans that he has for us. Those “plans” He has for us include specific Kingdom plans; things He needs us to accomplish during our short time here on earth. When we are given our assignments from our Father, it’s important that we, like Jesus our Teacher and Rabbi, insist on completing them before we move on to the next thing. .