In Good Times and in Bad
Lord of all, thank You for my friends and those whose love and wisdom has helped me grow to love You more.
Read John 11:1-16
 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  (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.)  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”  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.”  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,  and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”  “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”  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.  It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”  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.”  His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”  Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.  So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,  and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”  Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat was Jesus' response to news of Lazarus' illness?
In better times, Jesus had enjoyed the hospitality of his friends, Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Now, in troubled times, the sisters turn to their friend Jesus. They do not have to beg, bully or bribe Jesus to come to their aid, but say simply, “Lord, the one you love is sick” (3). We don’t need long, elaborate or high-pressure prayers; we can simply tell Jesus what lies uppermost in our hearts. Jesus’ response baffled his disciples. Why wasn’t he hurrying off to Bethany? Why this deliberate delay in going to his friends? The sisters must also have been hard-pressed to understand. But Jesus acted with the bigger picture in mind (4,15), a greater and more glorious purpose which his friends could not grasp. As Isaiah 55:9b reminds us, “So are my [God’s] ways higher than your ways.” Despite Jesus’ love for his friends, he chose a course of action that led, initially at least, to increased grief for them (5), as well as for himself–since the raising of Lazarus was the event that precipitated his own death (11:45-53). What does all this teach us about the place of suffering in our lives?
Graham Kendrick wrote a song entitled, “For This I Have Jesus.” Will you face troubles with those words?
Risen Lord, remind me today, and every day, that You are always there and ready to help me with any challenge.
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