(Read John 11:38-44)
There’s a man that Jesus loved who’s going to get sick and die, and Jesus is glad about it? I would never say Jesus caused Lazarus’ death, and i would never believe that. But i do believe God took Lazarus’ death in a fallen world and used it to glorify his Son, and used it as a forum or a stage to impact all generations of believers by what He did with this one special family – Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Jesus is trying to reach His generation, as well as our generation with a radical new message. And the message is this – eternal life is in Jesus, and what you do with Him right now will determine your eternal destiny.
As Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, who thought he had done everything right, that he must be born again, now here Jesus is going to use this opportunity to step into a painful, hurtful, unfortunate, and tragic situation,, and He is going to let it unfold with all of its implications, with all of its pain, and then He’s going to change it for the purpose of reaching people of every generation who are caught in the same kind of pain.
I don’t understand, really, why there is so much evil, and pain, and suffering in the world and it seems like heaven is silent, even if we pray and pray, nothing happens. How can a loving God allow this tragedy to happen? It’s almost become the question of our day. I submit to you, the reason why we think this way, is because we misunderstand the purpose of God. You see, we are putting everything in this life into a worldview that if you live long, and you have everything, and you do what you want, and that’s success; that’s greatness. We live in a culture that over-emphasizes the individual. We say, “Oh, if I just have 70 years of good health, and prosperity, and good insurance, and I really enjoy my family, and a good church to attend on Sundays, oh man, things are good! I promise you that is not the way that God keeps score of things. The people around us are going to hell! This is not the end of the book. This is not where the focus of it is. This is not what real life is all about. There is death, there is pain, there is suffering, but Jesus can take that tragedy of human experience and engineer it for the kingdom of God, and the glory of Christ, and the reaching of multitudes for Him.
Amid the problems that all of us face, if we would stand up with the most powerful testimony which is faith in the midst of crisis. If we will stand up amid the pain of death of a loved one, when cancer is the diagnosis, and bankruptcy is on the horizon, if we could just stand up with Job, and say, “though He slay me, yet will I serve Him!”, then perhaps the fallen world will listen.