Wednesday, November 07, 2012

When It Seems Like It's Too Late

"Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days"

Wait! What?

I know that it's happened to you before. You're reading a passage of Scripture, one you've read what seems a million times before, and something just jumps out at you. It jumps right off the inspired, God-breathed page! That's exactly what happened to me yesterday. 

I've read John, Chapter 11, so many times. I've preached on it. I've taught on it. I've memorized many of it's verses. You probably know all about it too. Even non-believers can tell you about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

I almost wish that you had never heard this account before. I wish this was the first time that you've ever laid eyes on it. Perhaps someone is reading this right now, and has no ever-lovin' idea who Lazarus is, and what Jesus did that day in Bethany. Oh, let it be! For those of you familiar, humor me, and pretend for a moment that you're reading it for the first time.

As I began reading this Bible account yesterday, I was on familiar ground. Until my eyes saw verse 5. For some reason I never, ever noticed those words. Until yesterday, I never fathomed how important it was for the Holy Spirit to put them right there, at the exact place they needed to be.

Think about it. There was a man named Lazarus. He had two sisters, Martha and Mary. He was sick. Jesus was told that his friend needed Him.  

"Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."

I believe that God placed those words right there to speak something so special to us, right before we were about to read the difficult passages that follow. He wanted to be sure that we knew that Jesus LOVED this trio of friends. He LOVED them. God wants you, the reader, to know this for sure, because...

...what follows are troubling words.
So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.

Two more days!  If you had no idea how the rest of the story goes, here is where you might shout! "Jesus, how could you? Why didn't you drop everything and go?" Two more days! In the meantime, Lazarus dies, has already been buried in the tomb, his corpse stinketh (KJV), Mary and Martha and many other Jews are grieving, and wondering where in the world their friend, Jesus is. He is too late. 

 "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."

When something in your life is dead. D-E-A-D. When it's so dead that it stinks. When it's past the point where you needed the answer NOW.

Jesus loves you.

When, like Martha, you believe that everything will be okay when you arrive in Heaven, but can't believe that there is any goodness left for you in the land of the living. When your situation is so dead, so far gone, when Jesus is so late that you need a miracle, if you even believe in miracles.

 Jesus loves you.

The Holy Spirit included those words in this account because you need to know, today, that just as He loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus, He loves you! Yes, you! He is no respecter of persons. He has no favorites. He wants to comfort you with those words in whatever situation you're going through. He wants you to be assured of His love, before, perhaps, things only seem to get worse with each passing day.

You may see nothing. It seems that there is no hope for your desperate situation. Be encouraged! Jesus loves you! Love never hurts you. Love never leaves you. Love never betrays you. Love always does what's best. Love is perfect. Love's results are awesome. Jesus is Love. God is Love.

And ... He. Loves. You.

Jesus told the disciples that this would turn out for His glory. (v. 4) In the end, He spoke these amazing words to Martha. "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (v. 40)

Believe what? Believe in His love for you. 

He will not dishonor Himself. He will not be unglorified. He will not be put to shame, or called a liar. He is all about His glory, and sometimes things have to become so out of reach, so difficult, and so impossible, that no man can come to the rescue. No human being or institution or worldly help can be savior.

Then the Savior, the Deliverer, the Redeemer, the Restorer, the Lord God Almighty, can come in and do what ONLY HE CAN DO!

Wherever you're at this day, precious one, plant the truth that Jesus loves you deep down in your heart. Don't just intellectually know it. Let it go from the page, to your mind, to your heart, and to your spirit.         

Jesus loves you.

Tether yourself to that truth. Anchor yourself to His love for you. Then when things go from bad to worse, you will hang on. You will endure well. You will persevere. You will not be moved. You will be steadfast and unshakable. You will be filled with hope, because you will know that you are dearly loved.

When you can't trust His hand, trust His heart.     

 If you would like to listen to a message that I preached based on this account click here: