Jesus, Please Hurry!
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 11:15 (Holman) AI=m glad for you that I wasn=t there so that you may believe. But let=s go to him.@
Jesus saw Lazarus= death as cause for rejoicing. This surely shocked the disciples. The word Aglad@ seemed completely out of place here.
Jesus was rejoicing that this temporary trial would increase the disciples= faith. Jesus wants His followers to turn more often toward Him. Since it can take a while to bend our will, our afflictions are sometimes allowed to tarry.
Jesus, in wisdom and love, highly values strengthening our faith. He will not screen us from trials which build us up.
Jesus= main goal for our life is not our personal happiness, but our spiritual growth. He prefers our best interest over any present comfort. The Lord seeks our permanent good more than our current satisfaction.
When dealing with others, we often mistakenly seek to gratify their feelings rather than to promote their good. But Jesus never mistakes sentimentality for love. He does not give His children everything they cry for, but only what is best for them. He often withholds lesser mercies that He may impart better ones.
When at ease, we often do not live as close to God as we do when in trouble. When times are good, we can easily become proud, brash, and unsympathetic. We all must sometimes be put in the furnace and melted down. This purging drives us back to God-likeness.
A false sense of security is a terrible foe to true Godly confidence. Afflictions can turn us away from dangerous counterfeit securities and toward Jesus. God often uses trials in our lives to remove hindrances to faith.
Ease is sometimes an enemy to faith. When we are obsessed with the blessing rather than the Blesser, we find it easy to worship the gift and forget the Giver. Afflictions help knock away these faulty props.
A boy, watching a bridge being repaired, asked his dad why the old wooden props were being knocked from underneath it. The father explained new stone piers were being built beneath the bridge to make it more secure. Similarly, God sometimes knocks away our earthly props that we may rest more firmly on Him.
Samuel Rutherford said, ABuild your nest upon no tree here, for you see God hath sold the forest to death, and every tree whereupon we would rest is ready to be cut down, to the end that we might flee and mount up, and build upon the Rock, and dwell in the holes of the Rock.@
John 11:16 Then Thomas (called Twin) said to his fellow disciples, ALet=s go so that we may die with Him.@
Thomas, whose name meant twin, tried to rally The Twelve. ALet=s go so that we may die with Him.@ Thomas is known to us as the doubter. Even here, a note of pessimism came through.
Thomas= statement, though gloomy and marked by little faith, did show leadership and courage. His was a loyal despair, not expectant confidence, but Thomas demonstrated that whether our faith is strong or weak, sheer loyalty to Jesus is a sufficient guide to walk by.
Thomas later forsook Jesus, but here he looked death in the face and chose death with Jesus rather than life without Him. Tradition says Thomas later suffered martyrdom. Hence, his sentiment here was not wrong, just premature.
Thomas was afraid, but refused to quit. Nothing is wrong with being afraid, but it is wrong to let fear stop us from doing what=s right.
If we were not afraid, courage would not be necessary. Real courage means carrying on even when we realize the worst could happen.
In WWI, artillery observation officers were sent up in tethered balloons to tell gunners whether their shells were falling short of the target or beyond it. It was almost a suicide assignment. For a few seconds the balloon was a sitting duck for the enemy.
One officer repeatedly became sick with nerves when his turn came, but he never quit. He was always afraid, but went on anyway. Courage overcame fear.
Thomas= willingness to die for Jesus was a praiseworthy desire. The fact Jesus died for us is valid reason for all of us to give our life to Him.
John 11:17-19 When Jesus arrived, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem (about two miles away). Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother.
Thomas= courageous words rallied the disciples to follow Jesus. The purpose of Jesus= journey was clear and easy to state. He had business to do with a corpse. Our author mentioned no details about the journey, but it was probably on this trip that at Jericho the blind man was healed, and Zaccheus converted.
John 11:20-22 As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. But Mary remained seated in the house. Then Martha said to Jesus, ALord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn=t have died. Yet even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.@
Martha, overwhelmed by grief, was evidently fighting feelings of resentment. Her words, a classic paradox, bespoke a rebuke she could not keep back, but also a faith that could not be shaken. The inner feelings of a broken hearted believer could hardly be articulated more eloquently.
When a Christians dies, we grieve not for the dead, but for those left behind. Death bereaves the survivors.
After a sore bereavement, Sir Walter Scott said, AI was broken hearted for two years; and though handsomely pieced again, the crack will remain to my dying day.@ Nothing will ever fully dry our tears but the dust of the grave.