This week I have the opportunity to prepare a message that has been very close to my heart. Around a month and a half ago, I was reading through the Gospel of John and the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see John 11 in a new light. I saw so many theological and practical truths spring right from the story of Lazarus, even though I’ve read it countless times. As I continue to press into the historical reality of Lazarus, I also begin to realize that it has huge implications in our lives.
We frequently think that when suffering comes upon our lives, that God is frustrated or punishing us. Rather in this text, the suffering of Mary and Martha is exclusively linked to Jesus’ love for their family. All things are stripped in their life to see the supreme glory of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the main character in this story and ultimately allows Lazarus to perish temporarily for the sake of Jesus’ glory to be made known. Jesus allows Mary, Martha and other family members to grieve the loss of their family member. Jesus not only comforts Mary and Martha with the words, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believes in me will never die”, but goes further and joins into the suffering of our broken, fallen world.
We see this most prominent in the person and work of Jesus on that hill called Calvary. Jesus does not leave us stuck in our sins but chooses to enter into the fray of our brokenness and “lay down His life for His friends” (John 15:13). The story of Lazarus is a historic, actual event that also has symbolic undertones of God’s extravagant grace towards sinner through the Cross of Christ. So, just as Mary and Martha saw the glory of God through Lazarus’ raising, so we too see the glory of God through the raising of Jesus Christ, our Lord and King.