John 11:32-37 God seeks out those for who love Him
Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?” John 11:32-37
The raising of Lazarus is the most significant miracle in Jesus’ ministry. There were two other occasions where Jesus raised the dead: the widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:11-17), Jairus’ daughter (Matthew 9:18-26). Only in Lazarus’ case did Jesus “alter” His itinerary and return to Judea under the watchful eyes of the Jews who wanted to kill Him.
1. Jesus, having come to the vicinity of Lazarus’ home, Mary came out to meet Jesus and said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
By that time, Mary had lost all hopes of every seeing her brother alive. She expressed regret that Jesus was not there when Lazarus was still alive. Neither did Mary blame Jesus for Lazarus’ death, but it never occurred to her that Jesus has the power to raise Lazarus. It was commonly believed that God would raise the dead on the last day, but the fact that Jesus holds the power to raise Lazarus never crossed their mind. Right until that point, they have never really believed Jesus as being God Himself, possessing the same powers as the Father.
2. Jesus wept during Lazarus’ funeral. Jesus’ emotions was apparently stirred at the sight of Mary and the other Jews weeping: He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled,… Jesus wept. The Jews commented concerning Jesus, “See how He loved him!” Jesus’ relationship with Lazarus and the two sisters was unique as they held a special place in Jesus’ heart: Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus (John 11:5). Nowhere else in the gospel was Jesus recorded as weeping for the sick or the dead. Mary was largely known as the one who anointed Jesus with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair. How was Jesus’ emotions moved? Since He already knew that Lazarus would not be dead for long. Obviously, Jesus was not troubled because of Lazarus’ passing, but rather He empathised with the sorrow of the people. It is in Jesus’ nature to always identify and resonate with the loss of the people.
3. Unlike other cases where Jesus ministered to people along His itinerary as they met Him, He made a U-turn back to Judea just to raise Lazarus. Jesus did this despite the real dangers that awaited Him.
4. There were many dead in Israel, but Jesus chose Lazarus’ family to display this great sign and miracle. This miracle was significant because that gave credibility to Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem as the Messiah riding on a donkey. Jesus’ kingly entrance into Jerusalem is prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 signifying the arrival of God’s kingdom.
1. Although Jesus loves every single person in this world, He actively seeks out those who love Him. Lazarus, Mary and Martha held a special place in Jesus’ heart; they belonged to a distinct group of believers whom Jesus loved. When the disciples were caught in a storm, amidst the many boats that were stranded at sea, Jesus reached out for His disciples walking on water. What does it mean to love Jesus? It is to put God’s business as the highest priority of our lives and having the confidence that He will provide for our every need.
2. God greatly uses those who love Him to display His glory to the world. We observe that the effect of Lazarus’ resurrection on the people dwarfed the other two resurrection miracles. Why did Jesus use Lazarus? Because Jesus loves Lazarus, He wanted to use Him to display His glory. Hence, Jesus waited four days for the crowd to gather at the funeral so that He could have maximum exposure for God’s glory. If you love Jesus, you can be sure that He will use you to display His love and power to the world.
3. God greatly uses those who display faith through their tongue. Martha said to Jesus, “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” (John 11:21). Up until this time, Martha still believed that Jesus could still raise Lazarus if He would ask God. Have faith in God, and nothing will be impossible for you.
4. Jesus is emotionally connected with those who love Him. Although Jesus had compassion on everyone who suffers and reaches out to them, but the emotional intimacy with each person is different. He is intimately connected with those who share His values, and vision in life. If you love Jesus, you can be sure that He feels with you in your moments of sorrow, and rejoices with you whenever something good happens.
1. Love God and be deeply concern about His business in your church, family and workplace. Participate in the activities that reaches out to those who are marginalised in the society. Participate in evangelistic outreach activities. Actively reach out to your colleagues at are in need.
2. Expect to be used by God to display His wisdom and power in your church, family and workplace. Be sensitive to the prompting of the Spirit to speak encouragement and to heal.
3. Depend on God by being intimately aware of the Spirit’s presence every moment of the day. Do not be arrogant to depend on your own resources but depend on God by reading the Word and connecting with Him daily.
Dear Lord, help me to cast all my cares on You so that I can put Your business as the highest priority of my life. Prepare me to be an instrument of Your power and glory. Use me to bring healing, and salvation to those in my family and community. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.