The Mystery of Providence (John 11:1-37)

The Mystery of Providence (John 11:1-37)

So often we read the Bible through a religious or spiritual lens and miss the truth that is in front of us. We overly spiritualize things and miss the plain reading of the text. In this passage, a close friend of Jesus dies. It is a passage dealing with intense pain, suffering, loss, death, and a host of human emotions and experiences. If we read the story of Lazarus in this light we will find many truths that will help us in our walk with the Lord.

God works everything for His glory

No matter how you read the story, Jesus intentionally lets Lazarus die. He has healed many people from a distance. He has merely spoken a word, and they have revived. However, Jesus seems to completely ignore the pleas for Him to come to Lazarus. The only explanation He gives is that God will be glorified.

We do not know why God does what He does

The disciples assumed that Jesus did not go to Lazarus because He was scared of being stoned. In their minds they came up with an explanation that was misinformed and wrong. Jesus had a greater purpose in mind that was beyond their reasoning. Jesus is not worried about being stoned. There is a far different reason He has tarried and let Lazarus die. We need to be very careful not to interject our opinion of why we think God does things.

Faith in Christ is the only thing that sustains us

Jesus tells the disciples that He is doing this so that they might believe, and He asks Martha if she believes. Notice that Jesus tells both His disciples and Martha exactly what He is going to do. He tells them all that He is going to raise Lazarus from the dead. However, as finite human beings they cannot comprehend what He is saying. Know this, even if God explained what He was doing to you in detail you would not have peace. There is a peace that is not found in understanding what is going on in your life. True peace is believing that God is in control and will work all things for His glory and our good.

Jesus weeps

Why did Jesus weep? Because His close friend died! Here we find Jesus weeping at the grave of a friend several days after his funeral. Jesus knows what it is to lose a loved one. He knows the pain of death, and He gives us a great example of grieving. We are to mourn the loss of loved ones. It is a Christ-like thing to visit the grave of a loved one and weep.

Application

We need to comfort grieving people the way Jesus does in this passage. Do not try to explain what God is doing; you are probably wrong like the disciples. Point people to Jesus, remind them of the resurrection, and weep with them. Weep with those who weep.

We need faith not sight. The only thing that will sustain you through dark times is faith that God knows what He is doing and that He will work all things for your good. Even if God told us what He was doing we could not comprehend it. Just trust Him.

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