Only One Thing

When Jesus heard . . .”—John 11:4 (NKJV)

What did He hear? He heard “a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha” (John 11:1 NKJV). Mary was the one who “anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair” (John 11:2 NKJV)—a humble, generous gesture. The two sisters sent word to Jesus saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick” (John 11:3 NKJV).

How did He respond?

He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4 NKJV).

And what did He do?

Oddly enough, although He loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, “He stayed two more days in the place where He was” (John 11:5-6 NKJV).

But Jesus heard. He knew their sorrow from the beginning of time. He foresaw this moment, and He knew this occasion was meant for only one thing: for God’s glory and for the Son to be glorified through it.

Just like Martha and Mary, Jesus knows our sorrows. He knows we are asking for healing, for restoration, for a job, for a prodigal to return, for hope, joy, and peace. And just like Martha and Mary, sometimes Jesus will wait—three days, three years, even thirty years—if it means at the end of that time God will be glorified.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus was a Man who lived according to God’s will and timing. We see this two other times in John’s gospel account (John 2:1-11 and 7:1-10). His words “My time has not yet come” (John 7:6 NKJV) demonstrate His obedience to His Father. Why would His heavenly ministry be any different?

When Jesus resurrects, it’s always according to God’s good will and for His glory. The revival of anything—a healing, a lifestyle, a wayward soul—is going to point to God. Yes, it’s difficult, even disheartening, as we wait. Yet, recall John’s words as Jesus witnessed the tears of Martha and Mary: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35 NKJV). Our tears stream with the Lord’s as He looks upon our sorrow.

King Solomon wrote that “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12 NIV). A lot can transpire between the requests to our Father and His response—spiritual growth, faith increased, strength renewed, God’s glory fulfilled.

Our hope should not be stagnant in the present moment, but fixed on the long run. For we know that “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

The resurrection of Lazarus should not cause us to wonder why the Lord would wait, but to meditate on what we can do, what we can change, and WHO to keep in view as we wait.

DIG: What was Jesus’ purpose in waiting to heal Lazarus?

DISCOVER: Look up passages within the Bible about waiting on the Lord. What do they teach you?

DO: As you pray, thank Jesus for hearing your prayers. And as you wait, trust Him and ask Him to show you His ways.

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