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.
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？”
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？