Read: John 11 (whole chapter is best but if you’re in a time crunch focus on verses 38-45)
One of the recurring themes of this account is that Jesus’ act of raising Lazarus from the dead was to be used for God’s glory and so that others would believe.
We see it first when Jesus hears the news that Lazarus is sick:
But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” (v.4)
Then when Jesus speaks to His disciples about going to Judea:
So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” (v.15)
And again in Jesus’ prayer before Lazarus’ tomb:
So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” (v.41-42)
Can you imagine what it had to be like for the disciples to see this happen? They watched Jesus do many amazing things but I have to think that a man walking out of the tomb after 4 days would be one of the most impressive.
Jesus could have healed Lazarus immediately upon finding out that he was sick, but He purposely waited. He waited because He knew the miracle He would perform in raising Lazarus would glorify His Father and affirm who He was as the Son of God.
He waited because He knew it would help others to believe… including His disciples.
I think God can, and does, do the same in our lives. It might be hard for us to understand, but I truly believe that sometimes He waits and allow things, even very difficult things, to happen because He knows it can be used for His glory and to bring others to belief in Him.
Reflect: Lazarus, a friend to Jesus, was restored to life at the words “come forth”. Perhaps God is using a trial in your life to call even your own friends to “come forth” and be restored to the everlasting life He gives.
PS Whenever I read this I can’t help but think about the Carman song that speaks from Lazarus’ perspective. Anyone else remember that? If you want an early 80’s throwback, check it out!