Friday, 2 July 2021
Title: “All about God’s glory”
By Ps Cheng Cheung

John 11: 4

My previous devotion on this same passage focussed on the theme of pain which God allows to befall those whom He loves. Today we shall go a step further and try to understand the heart of God who allows the ultimate to overcome His own.

Early in the chapter, John makes it abundantly clear that Mary’s was a family Jesus loved.
Verses 3 and 5: The sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick. . . Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”
The sisters sent for Jesus as soon as they realised Lazarus’ condition was dire. It was expected that if He miraculously met the needs of so many others, some of whom were strangers, He would meet their need also. John means for us to see and feel the love that Jesus has for this family. This request for help comes from within the closest circle of Jesus’s friends.

To help us understand the spiritual lesson from this incident, Jesus declares “This sickness will not lead to death, but [will lead] to God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

That’s the setting for Jesus’s amazing words about death and the pain he permits for those whom He loves, and the glory of God. He said this to the disciples, when the news of Lazarus’ illness was first told to Him. Mary and Martha did not hear Him say it.

By the time Jesus arrived at Bethany, the village where Lazarus lived, Lazarus had been dead four days. Mary and Martha could not understand Jesus’ delay. Each of them said to Him despairingly, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Behind their words we seem to read their true thoughts: “Lord, we do not understand w͟h͟a͟t͟ t͟o͟o͟k͟ y͟o͟u͟ s͟o͟ l͟o͟n͟g͟ t͟o͟ c͟o͟m͟e͟. How could you allow t͟h͟e͟ m͟a͟n͟ y͟o͟u͟ l͟o͟v͟e͟ s͟o͟ m͟u͟c͟h͟, our brother, to die?”
In other words, “ WHY did you allow this?”

This is a question many of us would have asked, I think, more so in recent days than at any time in past years.

Many Bible characters would have asked such Why questions:
Abraham: “Why do I need to sacrifice Isaac?” Yet he was willing to obey.
Joseph: “Why did my own brothers betray me, why did you allow my master’s wife to get away with her lies, why the lost years of unjust imprisonment?”
Job: “What did I do to deserve the disasters? And why take my health as well?”
Paul: “Why this thorn in the flesh which won’t leave, after all I have done for the sake of the gospel amongst the gentiles?”

I confess I hear my voice in the chorus of questions above. How about you?

So, how did Jesus respond to the sisters?

“24 Your brother will come back to life again . . . 25 I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, 26 and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Everyone who believes in Jesus will be raised to eternal life
This is the news which brings glory to God and the Son of God.

This illness and what happened to Lazarus is about God’s glory. It is not mainly about death. It is mainly about God, about the Son of God, and about how glorious God and His Son are. And the narrative records many believed after they saw the things Jesus did.

My Prayer today

Heavenly Father, give me faith to believe despite the fact that many times I do not understand the challenging and often desperate circumstances I face. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

每日灵粮
星期五,2021年7月2日
标题:“乃是为神的荣耀”
作者:张祯祥传道
翻译:巫惠如

约翰11:4

我上篇灵修用了同一段经节,主要讲的是上帝允许痛苦发生在属于祂所爱的人身上。今天,我们将更进一步,尝试了解上帝的心:为了战胜自己的痛苦,祂允许最绝的事发生。

在本章开头部分,约翰非常明确地指出,马利亚是属于耶稣所爱的家庭。
第三和第五节:”她姐妹两个就打发人去见耶稣,说:“主啊,你所爱的人病了。”…耶稣素来爱马大和她妹子并拉撒路。“
姐妹俩一发现拉撒路病情很严重,就向耶稣求助。很多人认为,如果祂奇迹般地满足这么多人的需要,而且其中一些还是陌生人,那他肯定也能满足他们的需要。约翰的用意是让我们看到并感受耶稣对这个家庭的爱。这个请求来自耶稣最亲密的朋友圈。

为了帮助我们从这个事件吸取属灵教训,耶稣宣告:“这病不至于死,乃是为神的荣耀,叫神的儿子因此得荣耀。”

这是耶稣当下说出关于死亡的一番话,以及祂所爱的人遭受痛苦,并上帝的荣耀。当门徒第一时间转告祂关于拉撒路的病时,祂如上所述对们徒说。马利亚和马大没有听到耶稣这么说。

当耶稣抵达拉撒路所居住的村庄伯大尼时,拉撒路已经死了四天。马利亚和马大无法理解耶稣为何晚到。他们每个人都绝望地对祂说, “主啊,你若早在这里,我兄弟必不死。” 我们似乎在他们的言论背后读到他们的真实想法:主啊,我们不明白为什么你这么晚才来。你怎么能允许你这么爱的人,我们的兄弟,死去?”
换句话说,“你为什么允许这事?”

我认为,许多人这些天都会问这问题,而且比过去几年的任何时候都多。

许多圣经人物都会这样问:
亚伯拉罕:“为什么我需要牺牲以撒?” 但他愿意顺服。
约瑟:“为什么我的亲兄弟背叛了我?为什么让我主人的妻子逍遥法外?为什么我得冤枉坐牢?”
约伯:“我到底是做了什么得忍受这些痛苦?为什么还要夺走我的健康?”
保罗:“为什么我身上的刺不离开我?毕竟我为外邦人能得着福音而做了那么多?”

我承认,我在以上一系列的问题中也听到了自己的声音。你呢?

那耶稣如何回应姐妹俩?

24 马大说:“我知道在末日复活的时候,他必复活。” 25 耶稣对她说:“复活在我,生命也在我。信我的人,虽然死了,也必复活; 26 凡活着信我的人必永远不死。你信这话吗?

每个相信耶稣的人都会得着永生。
这好消息给上帝和祂的儿子带来荣耀。

拉撒路的病和他的遭遇都是关乎上帝的荣耀。这主要不是关于死亡。它主要是关于上帝,关于祂的儿子,关于上帝和祂的儿子的荣光。这故事的叙述也提到,在看到耶稣所做的事情之后,他们也相信祂。

我的祷告:天父,尽管很多时候我不明白我所面对的挑战,甚至陷入窘境,求主加添我信心。奉耶稣的名祷告,阿门。