The miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead shows us more about who Jesus is than it does Lazarus. Sometimes it’s the story behind the story that we can easily miss if was focus solely on the subject. Yes, the miracle of Lazarus being brought back to life was simply amazing, and supernatural. And Mary and Martha’s concern for their brother and their frustration with Jesus’ timing was understandable. But it is two little words recorded in Scripture that, if we simply read the story for the story’s sake, we probably miss, or would have little meaning to us.
After Jesus received the news of Lazarus’ illness, the apostle John records that Jesus “stayed two days longer in the place where He was” (John 11:6). There was no urgency in Jesus’ mind to get up and run to the scene. That is most likely due to the fact that He was the Messiah, God Himself, and He knew what was about to unfold. You see, Jesus loved Lazarus. He was a very close friend to Jesus, and I am sure the news of Lazarus’ illness gave him great concern. But He had a plan, and that plan involved waiting. So He waited. He stayed in his place a little while longer. Was He praying those two days? Was He serving, healing, or teaching while He waited? Guesses are about all we have to go on. One thing is for sure, in the back of His mind was the thought that His close friend was dying. And that, I would imagine, caused Him to be concerned. Maybe those two days were equally as difficult for Jesus as they were for everyone else.
We see the depth of His concern in the two words I made reference to a minute ago. If we keep reading the story, we find that in John 11:35, when Jesus finally arrives in Judea, He came to the tomb in which Lazarus had been laid after his death. John records the shortest verse in all of Scripture here when he writes about the emotion displayed by Jesus. Two words: “Jesus wept.” Did you hear that? The God of the universe felt the same anguish that Mary and Martha were experiencing. And through His pain and loss He cried! Yes, tears flowed down His face. Jesus, showing us His full humanity, cried.
Can God cry? Does He weep with us in our sorrow? Is He concerned when our world is rocked by pain, loss, or a pandemic? Does He share in our suffering when we feel like we’re at the end of our road and have lost all hope? You better believe He does! It may feel like He is nowhere to be found, like He doesn’t care, or like He is taking a couple days off, but there is purpose in His waiting. And just like He did in the account of Lazarus’ life and death, He’ll show up in your pain too. Not only will He be weeping with you, but His presence in your story, at His perfect time, will wipe away your tears and your pain, and life will once again be restored. Hope will be renewed.
So hang on. Keep believing, keep praying, and keep waiting. Because in just a “couple days,” Jesus can, and will, make all things new.
“Jesus said to Martha, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
- John 11:40