Chapter 11 of John (today’s reading) is about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was ill, he didn’t rush to help, but stayed two more days where he was, which pretty much guaranteed that Lazarus would be dead when Jesus arrived (in fact, he’d been dead four days).
I knew Jesus deliberately delayed the trip to Bethany (home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus), but I never noticed this:
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. John 11: 5-6
Did you get that? Because Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus, he deliberately postponed his trip! “Jesus loved… So… he stayed two days longer.” He wanted to show them a miracle.
He says as much later on:
Then Jesus told [the disciples] plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” vs. 14
Jesus wanted the disciples to see this miracle and consequently believe.
He talks about belief with Martha after He says He will raise Lazarus from the dead:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” vs. 25-27
Notice that she didn’t quite answer his question. But she expressed the strongest believe that she knew: Jesus was Messiah!
I wonder if Martha really knew what Jesus meant by belief here? She wanted Lazarus raised, but Jesus talks about her life after death.
When Jesus tells people to remove the stone from the grave, Martha worries that the grave will smell when it’s opened (so she still thinks her brother will be dead). Jesus reminds her: “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (vs. 40)
Whether she – or anyone else – believes He can do it, Jesus raises Lazarus – after saying:
“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” vs. 41-42
What happened? Because Jesus waited two days, ensuring He’d have to raise a dead man:
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. vs. 45
So, many believed! Jesus’ worked the miracle of resurrection in order to impart the miracle of faith. I think Jesus has always worked some kind of miracle ahead of time in order to produce our faith.
And what’s more amazing to me is that not everyone believed! Some of them went and tattled to the religious authorities.
Well, that’s what I noticed as I read tonight. With 8 minutes to midnight, I’ll stop here!
Dear Lord: I love how you cared enough to produce faith in Your followers that you waited two days to go to Bethany. Thank you that you did what it took for me to have faith, too! Amen.