Read John 11:1-53
Lazarus was a good friend of Jesus, as were his two sisters Mary and Martha. It was Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair. One day Lazarus became ill with a serious disease, a terminal disease.
So his sisters sent a messenger to Jesus, saying, “Lord, he who you love is ill.”
But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness doesn’t lead to death. It’s for the glory of God, so the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Before we read the rest of the story, it’s good to remember how much Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. With that in mind, Jesus stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then, after the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go to Judea (where Lazarus was) again.”
The disciples tried to talk him out of it because the leaders of the Jews in Judea were at that time actively looking for an opportunity to kill Jesus. But Jesus wouldn’t be dissuaded.
Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.”
The disciples said, “Great! If he’s sleeping then he’ll probably recover.”
Then Jesus said, “Lazarus has died, and for you sake I’m glad that I wasn’t there, so you may believe. But let’s go to him.”
Jesus Is Glad
I was listening to my small group leader read this story the other night and something struck me hard. I’ve lost some people close to me in my life and maybe you have too. If you have, then you know something about grief. It’s brutal. Grief does weird things to your mind. It hurts, sometimes physically. Losing someone you love is one of the most painful experiences you’ll ever have in life.
And with that in mind, what struck me the other night is that Jesus’ response to all the suffering: Lazarus’s suffering, Martha’s suffering, Mary’s suffering, Lazarus’s other family members’ suffering, Lazarus’s friends’ suffering, and Jesus’ own suffering, for he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled and he himself wept . . . (John 11:33-35)
Jesus response to all this suffering among a group of people he loves is gladness.
“Lazarus has died, and for your sake I’m glad . . .” Jesus said.
Jesus was glad about the suffering because even though the suffering was difficult, Jesus saw the opportunity in the suffering. The opportunity for God to be glorified.
I Want to be Glad Too
When I was contemplating these things the other night, it hit me. I want to be like that. I want to be someone who doesn’t feel sorry for himself when he encounters suffering, whatever the cause may be.
When I go through something hard, like Jesus I want to see the opportunity for me to respond in a way that glorifies God.
That’s who I want to be.
Maybe you’re going through something hard right now and that’s who you want to be too. If that’s true, then pray with me.
Father, please take away my tendency to feel bad when hard things happen to me. And give me the gladness Jesus had when Lazarus died, even if the “resurrection” doesn’t happen this side of heaven. Even if the solution doesn’t come from You until I’m in heaven, make me a man who’s glad when the hard things come. Make me a man who sees hard things as opportunities to glorify You. Make me a man who responds to hard things in ways that delight You and please You and glorify Your name.
Make me more like Your son Jesus in this way.
In Jesus’ name I ask this of You.
Image of man smiling in the mud via Buckley Air Force Base — labeled for reuse on Google Images