Words of Life

Stranger Love

John 11:

  • This is a bizarre. For this family who is obviously very close to Jesus is hoping that Jesus would keep Lazarus from dying. Surely he is able; they’ve seen greater miracles performed by his hand. Certainly he loves them; John outright says this in vs. 5. (vs. 2, 3) So, it reasons that love wants what is best for the one who is loved. And here’s where I make my logical (though incorrect) leap, thinking that love in this context requires keeping Lazarus from suffering and death. Yet, what we read is the opposite! In vs. 5-6 John writes, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. SO, when he heard that Lazarus was ill [we can assume ‘suffering’], he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. [in other words, he let him die]”
  • Then what is love, if it is not to keep me comfortable and thriving? Jesus implies at least one priority for love. He says, “It is for the glory of God“. (vs. 4) Then, “so that you may believe.” (vs. 15) Again, “if you believed you would see the glory of God“. (vs. 40) And again, “they may believe“. (vs. 42) And then Lazarus is raised from the dead and “Many…believed in him.” (vs. 45) This all leads me to think that being connected to the glory of God and the glorious works of His Son, Jesus, is a greater good than comfort and life. And therefore, my discomfort, suffering, and even death, need not be absent of God’s love for me.
  • Am I loved? Do I love like Jesus?

  • Jesus, this is not easy to receive and even harder to implement. Teach me. Guide me.

  • VERSES 5-6 were key in showing me that Jesus’ decision to let Lazarus die was actually a loving decision that would ultimately connect Lazarus to a far greater demonstration of God’s glory than healing would have.

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