Jesus was called on to come to Bethany. Lazarus, His good friend and the brother of Mary and Martha, was sick. The faith of these two sisters was strong; they knew that if Jesus would come immediately, He could heal their brother.
We know the history of this family. They were dear friends of Jesus. He was always welcome in their home. It was at their home that Martha learned what Jesus treasured most in a friendship: a listening heart and a desire to know the Father in a personal relationship. It was one of those growing times for Martha that we all experience during our walk with our Lord. How gentle He was with Martha, showing her the better action of listening but also appreciating her servant spirit.
My thoughts as I read this portion of Scripture were that there was still another lesson this family was about to learn: God’s perfect timing. They wanted Him to come quickly, knowing that if He did, surely their brother would be healed. Their thoughts were good, and they were demonstrating great faith. But God the Father and His Son had another plan. The better plan was to share with the unbelieving Jews that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus said it this way to His disciples, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” John 11:4. How many times as Christians are we out of timing with the Lord’s plans, and we get anxious and worried that the situation is not coming together the way we want–only to find out that God had another better plan? Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Recently I heard a gentleman say, “How many times do we stand in front of a microwave and say, ‘Hurray up!!’” I had to laugh; I have done that! I want an instant answer to prayer. It’s not going to happen unless that is the Godly plan. Often in the waiting, we learn so many valuable lessons through prayer and Bible reading as we sit at the Master’s feet.
What a day of rejoicing that must have been for brother, sisters, and friends! I liked what the Bible Knowledge Commentary said, “Jesus shouted only three words: ‘Lazarus come out!’ Augustine once remarked that if Jesus had not said Lazarus’ name, all would have come out from the graves. Immediately, the dead man came out. Since he was wrapped in strips of linen, a special work of God’s power must have brought him out. Jesus’ directive to the people, ‘Take off the grave clothes,’ enabled Lazarus to move on his own and at the same time gave evidence that he was alive and not a ghost.” I would love to have been there that day, but how grateful I am that God recorded this for me so I could shout, “PRAISE GOD!!!”