Imagine Mary and Martha in the Gospel of John (John 11). Their brother Lazarus, a great JC fan and friend falls ill. All the while Martha and Mary wait, pray, peer out the window hoping against hope to catch a glimpse of Jesus. They imagine Him strutting toward their home with an urgency in his step. A cloud of dust rises behind Him as the twelve disciples travelling with him try to keep pace.
Surely, Lazarus the loyal friend deserves this kind of attention from Jesus, doesn't he? But wait a minute, it is all just a dream. Jesus is no where to be seen.
Eventually Lazarus succumbs to the sickness and dies.
Maybe now Jesus will show up. Not so much for the sake of Lazarus but for that of his sisters. Afterall many Jews from Jerusalem and surrounding regions have heard about his death and they are coming to console the two. Why not Jesus?
Well, He doesn't show up the first, second or burrial day. The sisters feel hopeless. All the lights seem to have flirkered out. Their anticipation turns to despair. Jesus has let them down. It all seems lost.
At one point they had announced to everybody...no, they had boasted to everybody...that Lazarus was a great friend of Jesus. "The two are great buddies and hang out together alot," they boasted to everybody who would come by. "We know by now He has heard Lazarus is ill and He is on His way." All that needs to happen for their brother is for Jesus to show up, wave His hand, and voila, their brother is well again.
But now they feel embarrassed. Jesus is a no show. He is too late...or isn't He?
Not quite. Not according to Jesus Himself. He was waiting for the right hour and it wasn't what Mary and Martha thought it was. To Him, the right hour was after Lazarus is dead. The right hour was what would bring the most glory to God not simply what would cure His friend. He knew His priorities and He wasn't about to change things to save face for the sisters.
He says to the disciples, "Lazarus is dead, and I am glad...(Did He just say that He is glad?)...for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him." What? Go to Him...after He is dead?
That is right. After He is dead. And not just after He is dead, He is burried. He is infact decomposing. It has been four days since He was burried, for crying out loud.
But why now? Because this is the moment that will bring the most glory to God. And so, Jesus finally shows up. "Your brother will rise again." He announces to Martha. "I am the ressurection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
"Jesus, are you serious about this?" She ponders carefully before openning her mouth with a politically correct response. She doesn't want to allienate Jesus. "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day," she says.
But then Jesus presses her with that look in His eye to be more precise. He wants committed belief. But in her mind, He has let her down already and she doesn't want to raise her hopes too high. She still sticks to her guns and keeps off the mention of the resurrection. "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."
Well, we know what transpires. With Jesus' one command, "Lazarus, come forth!" The dead man comes out walking. Yes, this is the moment that would bring God the most glory. It was the right hour and the right place. Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"
That is our God.
So, how did we do on our fundraising for Burundi? ..Above and beyond...$ 24,000 we raised in six days. What is more, today out of Minneapolis we had a very comfortable flight :). Is that divine favor or what? That is how come I am sitted here in the KLM lounge, sipping on a cup of tea and munching on a cookie while I write this blog.
And there is a really cool story that I want to tell you later. Something that I had been too shy to post on here earlier, not wanting to appear presumptious. God did it anyway. You don't want to miss. Only our Father does these kind of things. Subscribe to this blog so that when I make the next post, you get to be the first to read it. Will you? On the way to Burundi...Preaching Jesus as we go.