Jesus’ timing with Lazarus – What do we make of his delay?

The Fifth Sunday in Lent
April 10, 2011

Collect of the Day – Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit one God, now and forever.

Ezekiel 37:1-14
Romans 8:1-11
John 11:1-47

Jesus hears that Lazarus of Bethany is near death. His response is, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Jesus proceeds to stay with his disciples for two days in the place where he was.

When Jesus arrives in Bethany he finds that Lazarus has already been in the tomb for four days. At this point comes Martha’s question that could be on the lips of so many others, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”

Lord, if you had been here. Martha’s words are filled with doubt and faith. So many people find themselves at this intersection. Jesus proceeded to raise Lazarus from the dead. Today, what words can we offer to people that will help them journey through that intersection of doubt and faith?

I find Psalm 75 74very helpful. In that psalm we find the psalmist asking, “How long?” When the signs that point to the Lord seem to have been painted over by sin, death or the devil we are invited to remind God of his promises.

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