Ezekiel 24-26

1 Peter 2

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed where He was two more days, and then He said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’”     —John 11:5-7

When Lazarus was sick, his sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus saying, “Lord, the one You love is ill” (John 11:3). It is interesting that they referred to Lazarus as “the one You love” rather than “a friend” or “a neighbour.” After receiving this message, we would expect Jesus to immediately go to the one He loves. Jesus, however, seemed to do nothing about it. It was not until two days later that Jesus started the journey towards Bethany, which was where Lazarus was. The trip took another two days. When Jesus and His disciples finally arrived in Bethany, they learned that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

Martha was the first to greet Jesus and she said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). It was like Martha saying, “Jesus, it is by Your neglect and Your inactivity that Lazarus has died. If You had been here, He would not have died.” Similarly, when Mary saw Jesus, she said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32). There is no doubt what these sisters were telling each other for the last four days as they questioned Jesus’s inaction. They probably assumed that if He had come, things would all be good now.

One of the hardest things in the Christian life is when God seems to ignore our prayers and our requests. There is a saying that goes, “God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says, ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ or so it is ‘Wait.’” As we consider this, why would Jesus be different in answering prayer to any other notion of why things happen the way they do? What we see on the surface is a problem, but we do not realize that Jesus has a hidden agenda behind it. In the physical realm that we see, Lazarus was sick, then died and was now in the tomb. In the spiritual realm that we do not see, Jesus has a greater purpose. 

Jesus tells His disciples, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe” (John 11:14-15). The focus of the event was not on Lazarus, but an agenda to teach and benefit the disciples that they may believe. Jesus knew, “This illness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). The hidden agenda that Jesus Christ has is for God’s glory. In our life, there is an agenda from God that we may not see. Will we trust Him and His agenda that is much bigger than ours?

Precious Jesus, although I do not know what You are doing in the physical realm, I know You are doing something mighty in the spiritual realm. I submit my life into Your hand and trust Your agenda. Thank You, Jesus.

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