Friday 20 Apr 2018
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Isaiah 55 : 1-2

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Jesus Wept

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Article Index
Jesus Wept
Bethany the platform for glory
Why Jesus Wept
Moved in spirit and troubled; the reasons why
It is not too late neither is it too grave for God to handle
All Pages

Jesus Wept (John 11:35)

“When the Son of Man comes , will he find faith on earth”

The title of this exposition is taken from what perhaps is the shortest recorded verse in the bible, and yet it is able to minister so much to as many as want to know, what made Jesus to weep at the graveside of the man he loved, the man called Lazarus. The story surrounding the incident had to do with the death of Lazarus a friend of our Lord Jesus. Many reasons have been attributed as why Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus and one of such reasons was that he did because he loved Lazarus, and his weeping had to do with mourning for him. Is that really so?

While It is very true that Jesus loved Lazarus; and it is also true that Jesus mourned at the grave, but his mourning was entirely for different reasons as none of these reasons had anything to do with the death of Lazarus, rather it had to do with the people who came together to mourn Lazarus. The person that Jesus felt sorrowful for was not Lazarus; rather it was the people who came to mourn the passing away of Lazarus. The reason why Jesus mourned was far removed from the death of Lazarus, this is so because there was no reason at all for him to do so. You see there were a couple of other events in the life of Jesus as revealed by the bible why it made no sense for him to mourn because of the death of Lazarus.

To help clarify these assertions we would need to look in details, why the mourning of Jesus at the graveside of Lazarus had nothing to do with the man in the grave. To start this we would need to look at the significance of the place where this event took, place. We need to do this in order to see that event was an anticipated one, one that was part of the orchestrated plan of God to glorify his son.

Bethany the platform for glory

First and foremost, the importance of the venue where this event took place should not be lost on us, because it will help us to begin to understand the significance and the opportunity which the illness and the subsequent death of Lazarus presented for the people who came to mourn him, this event presented to these people the opportunity to experience the glory of God. Bethany was a village in the region of Judea and very near to Jerusalem (2 miles), and Jerusalem was the seat of the Jewish authority, and the people who were in authority at that time were greatly opposed to the authority and Lordship of Jesus. It was in this region (Judea) that they had tried to stone him prior to this incident. Not only did Jesus have a strong opposition in this region, but the level of unbelief towards his message could be said to be at all time high. The plot and the conspiracy to kill Jesus was also muted and hatched in this region (John 7:1, Mathew 26:6-14).

But in spite of the opposition, this was still the place that God had chosen to glorify Jesus as the Son of the living Jehovah and also to confirm his authority over death in addition to his authority to give life to those who would believe in him. This was in line with the declaration which Jesus had made earlier and which drew the ire of the Jewish people (John 5:16-28, 6:35 –58). We can begin to gain more insights into why the region of Judea was of great importance for this event by looking at one of the remarks made by the brothers of Jesus.

“Jesus brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world”. For even his own brothers did not believe in him” (John 7:3-5).

In essence what they were saying to Jesus was that his ministry needed to be validated and this must be done in the presence of the authority and the city of Judea happens to be the place. To them this was the test that Jesus had to pass in order for his claims he has made about himself to become valid. If he could pass this test, then he was authentic. In their eyes and because of their unbelief, Jesus was either an usurper or at best he must be out of his mind for him to be making the sort of claims that he had been making about himself. To them he was a deceived fellow with deceived followers in tow. Therefore the region of Judea would be the ideal place for all of these claims to be validated or exposed for what they really were in their eyes. To them this was needed so that the eyes of the deceived followers will be opened and see that they had been deceived.

While this was the setting in the mind of those who do not believe, this is not the case with God. You see, events in the bible revealed to us that God has always taken delight in using the opposition for his own glory; We see a pattern of this, with what how God dealt with Pharaoh when he refused to set the Israelites free from the bondage of slavery. The scripture also informed us how God humiliated the prophets of Baal through Prophet Elijah. Daniel and his friends experienced the glory of Jehovah ring in the presence of those who were baying for their blood. In addition, the man David testified along this line about God in Psalm 23:6;

“You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies” - Psalm 23:5.

One can therefore understand why he also prayed that God should spare his own enemies that they might witness the goodness of God in his life. I believe this prayer stems from understanding the heart of God especially with regards to how he (God) uses his servants to display his glory. In line with the pattern that I have tried to establish through these references, the appropriate place therefore for God to glorify his own Son was no other place but right in the presence of those who were in opposition to his Son Jesus.

But the question remains why Bethany in particular? To unravel this mystery we need to visit the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha who were sisters to Lazarus, the man in the eye of the storm. The bible recorded that Jesus had visited their home prior to this incident and the reference to Lazarus as the one whom the Lord loves implies that Jesus knew them very well and probably must have been a regular guest at their home. In the light of this information, what we really want to do is to catch a glimpse of what  would normally transpire during those visits, and in order to do this let us see what the scripture revealed to us from one of those visits;

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me. Martha, Martha the Lord answered,  “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:39 –42).

We can see the picture of what perhaps would be a regular feature of those numerous visits whenever Jesus come calling to the home of Martha and Mary, we see a picture of two wonderful sisters who were always eager for different reasons to welcome and receive Jesus into their home. As a result, they would throw open the door of their home to the Messiah to come in. We also see from what the scripture revealed to us that Jesus would in turn use the opportunity to teach them about the word of God while enjoying their hospitality. But I want you to pay close attention to the account that was reported about the sisters, these accounts were given for a purpose, there is an important message behind this.

You see, something else was also going on, as we saw from the actions of the two sisters, one of them was busy or distracted trying to please the Lord through works, the other one had the wonderful privilege of sitting at the feet of the Lord to be fed with the word of life. You may be wondering what is significant about this, especially the one that was privileged to sit at the feet of Jesus, well let us see what Jesus had to say about the words that sister was privileged to hear from the mouth of the Messiah;

“The Spirit gives life; The word that I speak to you are life and they are Spirit” (John 6:63).

I want you to know, that the scenario I have narrated here was no co–incidence neither was the death of Lazarus, this was not an ordinary event that came out of the blues as we would eventually see. You see something was going on in this home, someone was being prepared and equipped for a great event that was to take place in due time, some people were being prepared to play different roles in the event that was to bring glory to the Son of God. All the events that transpired were therefore not accidents; rather the events that preceded the death of their brother Lazarus were all put in place by God and they were for a purpose. The fact is, the script about event that was was to unfold at the grave of Lazarus was written long before his death. You see, roles had been assigned to the respective actors and actresses. The stage was Bethany the home to Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

With the stage long set, the eventful day eventually came with Lazarus taking ill, which subsequently led to his death, but let us walk through the event carefully taking the time to appreciate the spiritual messages which the unfolding scenes brings to us.  To begin with let us debunk once and for all why the mourning of Jesus was not because of what had befallen Lazarus, we would do this by looking the following points.

1- From the minute Jesus was told about Lazarus illness, he predicted what the eventual outcome would be:

When Jesus was told that Lazarus was sick, he told his disciples emphatically that the sickness was not going to end in the death of Lazarus, in other words death was not going to be the end of this matter, in saying this, he was not saying Lazarus wasn’t going to die, but instead he was saying that although Lazarus would die, but this death would not be the end of this matter. You see the end of the matter would be an event that would bring glory to the Son of God, for through the death of Lazarus, the declaration by Jesus that he is the bread of life would be confirmed for all to see.

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” (John 11:4).

He came to Bethany for one purpose to demonstrate the power and the glory of God and not to do otherwise. He knew what was going to happen to Lazarus before it happened and he knew why it had to happen.That was why he was not perturbed when he was told about Lazarus illness; rather he stayed back long enough for the death of Lazarus to be certified according to the Jewish customs.

2- He had performed the miracle of raising the dead prior to event (Mark 5:35 – 43).

The position that Jesus found himself with the death of Lazarus was not a strange one, not all, because he had previously performed the miracle of resurrection, when he raised the daughter of Jairus a Synagogue official from death, there was a word Jesus used to describe what they called death at the time. He used the word ‘sleep’ to describe her state.

He went in and said to them “The child is not dead but asleep” (Mark 5:39).

I want you to note that this was the same word that he used to describe Lazarus’s death, he was not playing around with words, well at least to those who can discern the message. We can tell from the use of this phrase to describe what had befallen Lazarus, we could tell what was on his mind, we could tell he was going to repeat this miracle, to declare Lazarus as fallen asleep and not wake him up would expose him to ridicule you would agree.

“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; “ (John 11:11)

This word had profound meaning and once again he wasn’t simply throwing words around, neither was he trying to soften the impact of the tragedy as we will find out later, the reason why this word was used by Jesus. But for now, we know from the scriptures that Jesus went to the house of Jairus and raised his daughter from the dead. Therefore we know that Jesus had the ability to raise the dead. Not only did Jesus have the ability to raise the dead, but he had actually demonstrated the ability before, and for someone whom he loved so much like Lazarus, he had every reason to want to do it again.

Why then would he mourn knowing that he had the ability to raise Lazarus up from the dead? Mourning as we all might know had everything to do with hopelessness and helplessness. We need to understand the position of mourning in the world that we live. The reason why people mourn can be attributed to a cause that is completely lost and irredeemable. But in this case, we see Jesus declared that he was going to Bethany to raise Lazarus up even before he got there. In so doing, he had clearly defined his mission for going to Bethany and the mission was to perform a miracle similar to the one that he had done before. There was therefore no reason to mourn the death of Lazarus for whatsoever reason.

3- He knew the authority that he had and the reason why he had come to earth.

“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it” (John 5:21).

Jesus knew the sort of power that was at his disposal and he knew that he had the ability to give life, just like God the Father does. For the God the Father had given to him the authority to give life to whomsoever he deems fit. He therefore knew very well that he could raise the dead if he had to, not only those who are physically dead, but also those who are dead spiritual as well.

You see at the grave of Lazarus , Jesus declared;

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies and whoever believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25).

What he implied with this statement was profound very, very profound, Jesus boldly declared that not only does he have the power to raise those who are physically dead back to life, but those who are spiritually dead as well, giving them in the process their life back. And it the case of the ones raised from spiritual death, eternal life. This was the position of Jesus, a position that was well established by the miracles he had performed all over Judea at the time of Lazarus death.

Why Jesus Wept

If Jesus did not weep because of Lazarus’s death, what then moved him to tears you may ask?

The reason why Jesus wept became clearer when he got to Bethany and the place where Lazarus was buried. The first thing that struck him was that although they had sent for him, nevertheless they had committed the body of Lazarus to the grave. Although they were expecting the Messiah, they were not ready to wait for him to come to them; they had made up their mind that the case of Lazarus was beyond redemption even before the Messiah has had the opportunity to intervene. Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, this should never be so, it is never over until God says so. This will be revealed to us through this exposition. A number of people have buried their dreams and given up on God without giving him the time or opportunity to move on their behalf. Although many are calling on God to intervene in their case, their position is not different from that of Lazarus family, who even though the Messiah told them he was coming in answer to their plea to come and heal the one he loved so much, but their lack of faith made them to succumb to the report that stared them in the face. What report? The report that said it was over for their brother Lazarus.

Back to Bethany, when the news of the coming of Jesus got to the sisters, Martha was the one who immediately went out to meet him and almost immediately she revealed what she thought of Jesus. What she said revealed what she believed about in Jesus, you see as far as she was concerned Jesus came too late. Oh she knew that Jesus could heal the sick, she knew Jesus could make the lame to walk and make the blind to see as well as cast demons out of those who were possessed.  Much like many believers of today who revel in the act of quoting the bible in order to show their knowledge of the word, she knew all the right things to say about Jesus and the right way to say them. She showed all the right enthusiasm and excitement that a number of us show today when we hear the word or when at worship In addition she claimed to believe, just like many believers who never waste time in declaring they believe, if only her belief could be translated to action. Let us follow the event more closely.

To start with, Martha’s first remark surprised me;

“If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even God will give you whatever you ask”

When Martha declared she knew God would grant to Jesus whatever he asked for, anyone listening would have thought wow what a faith and would be impressed by the knowledge she displayed about God and Christ, it would be easy to conclude as a result that Martha spoke from the depth of her convictions about who the Lord was. The question for her to answer perhaps would be, why then did they not wait for Jesus to come before committing their brother to the grave? But Jesus knew Martha better, he knew her to be superficial and too eager to please by saying and doing the right things while concealing her real problems.  So he went ahead and prodded her to know the depth of what she professed. Jesus therefore responded by saying;

“Your brother will rise again”

And Martha replied;

“I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day”

Bingo Jesus got the answer that he knew Martha would give, Martha revealed the true picture of what she knew and believed, you see what she believed about Jesus did not include the raising up of Lazarus, for as far as her faith goes, Lazarus was gone until the day of resurrection. It can be said that this was a convenient answer, no one knows what will happen on the day of resurrection, and whatever we know, it is from what we were taught by the word of God and which we cling to by faith-howbeit an untested faith. And in the case of Martha, this was the same very word which was also revealed by Jesus to her as the one who can raise the dead. Many of us faced with Martha was faced with, would also give convenient answers, such as ‘If the Lord wills’, ‘The Lord is able to do it’ or ‘Let the will of God be done’, to mention just a few. You see as far Martha was concerned, although God could give to Jesus whatever Jesus asked, the raising up of Lazarus was not one of them. Her belief in the Messiah had boundaries and limits, just like the faith of  many of us believers today. When we say we believe in Jesus as the Messiah what do we really believe about him? Is he really your Lord? , and is he really your saviour? Do we really believe he is what he says he is or what we have been conditioned to believe about him.  It was convenient for Martha to push what was demanded of her faith to another day in the future, it was convenient for her to kick the bucket down the road; it was the perfect façade to hide her unbelief.

You see when Jesus asked his disciples what the world thought of him, he already knew what the world thought of him, as a matter of fact, this was what actually prompted him to ask them again but this time he wanted to know what was their opinion of him and not one influenced by others.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” - Mathew 16:15.

There was a reason behind this as this was not a question arising from an impulsive action. You see the truth is, Jesus demands that the views of those who are called to be his disciples be different from the views of those who are of the world and do not belong to him. We cannot hold the same view about Jesus which the world holds and yet expect the power of the cross to be of benefit to us.

Let me also add, there are many believers today who are like Martha in many ways, they always have the right word for every occasion. I remember a friend of mine who once told me about the lingo that believers like to throw around these days. We use to have a good banter with some of these words. I was brought up as an Anglican, and quite frankly it was when I joined the Pentecostal community that I got bombarded with these words. Words like ‘deliverance service’, ‘anointing service’, ‘Holy Ghost Night’, ‘Miracle Service’ to mention but a few. There is nothing wrong with these words, except that I have found that to many, these words or phrases have become fanciful words and clichés that are used to let other believers know that they belong. There are those who know how to talk the talk but when it comes to the push and shove like Martha they would easily be exposed as lacking in the substance of faith. There are many who know what the Lord can do but when it comes to applying this knowledge to what they are going through in life, it becomes obvious that what they profess is lacking in deep conviction. This is the picture of Martha that we see from her conversation with Jesus, it is the picture of believers who say one thing about the Lord, but believe something totally different about him.

If Jesus was not surprised by Martha’s lack of faith, the sight of Mary’s hopelessness that confronted him was a worrying one. You see Mary was the one whom the Lord had poured so much into, she was the one that had been prepared for the occasion that was unfolding right before everyone present at the grave of Lazarus. Mary was the one who had been given the privilege to sit at the feet of the Lord and fed with the word of life. She was meant to play the principal role and she was the one of whom the Lord had previously given this testimony about;

Martha the Lord answered,  “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:39 –42).

Therefore when Mary came out to meet the Lord and made the following remark;

“Lord if had been here, my brother would not have died” (John11:32).

Just before you go wondering what is wrong with the remark, the answer is there is a lot wrong with it. You see, this was the same remark which Martha had also made. Mary the one whom the Lord had spent much time with, the one whom the Lord had prepared to be a partaker of the glorious event that was to unfold with the death of her brother, the one whom the Lord had declared as having chosen the only thing that was needful, was in no way better than the unbelieving Martha and the helpless crowd that came to mourn at the tomb of Lazarus. The sight of Mary in this helpless condition and the sight of the helpless crowd was such that, Jesus became deeply moved in spirit and was troubled.

Moved in spirit and troubled; the reasons why

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come to along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33).

This particular passage offers us a great insight from which we can actually deduce the reasons why Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus. If there is any verse that can help us to understand the reasons behind his sorrowful disposition, this perhaps is that verse. You must understand that at the time the death of Lazarus took place, the ministry of Jesus on earth was gradually coming to an end, but prior to this event, he had spent his time making disciples out of his followers. In making disciples of them he was equipping them to be able to continue from where his earthly ministry ends. In him was the life that became the light of men (John 1:4), and all of those who come into that light were meant to shine it to the rest of the world and bring many more to the source of the light.

Jesus, the one who is the light of men, had spent all this time lighting the light of the world, for he told them what their role in the world would be. They were to be the salt and light of the world. They were to be the beacons of hope to the world that was given to hopelessness, they were to be the shining light to the world that was lost in darkness (Mathew 5:13 - 16).

In order to equip them for this role, he had spent his time teaching them about the Kingdom of God and its principles. He taught them how to walk in the power of the kingdom. Not only did he teach them, but he also conferred on them the authority to perform the same signs and wonders that he had displayed amongst them. He did not stop there for he also told them that greater works was within their reach if only they can believe. He taught and revealed to them what was available to them through faith and how to exercise that faith. He taught them how to pray and how to ask and receive whatever they desire from God assuring them that they would have their prayers answered. It can be said that he taught about the secrets of the Kingdom, for he said that to them(his disciples) had been given to know the secrets of the kingdom (Mathew 13:11).  Jesus had taught them that everything was available to them and to them everything was possible, the only condition being, if only they would believe as he declared to them;

“Nothing shall be impossible to those who believe”

But when Jesus got to Bethany the platform that was set for demonstration of God’s power and glory, the unbelief in the air was so thick, it was of such magnitude that made Jesus to feel that he had wasted his time. His compassion for the helplessness of everyone present was of such that he was troubled and moved.  You see Jesus was not bothered about Martha, he already knew that she does not have what it takes, Martha was the distracted one, she had not received the word she was too busy and distracted to do so. Jesus was not bothered about the crowd, he understood the position they had taken with regards to the death of Lazarus, they could not have taken any other, they were not enlightened about the glory of God that is available in the Son. It was for their enlightenment that the event at Bethany occurred in the first place, Jesus expected them to be there in their numbers and with their eyes blinded by the Prince that ruled the world as a result keeping the knowledge of God’s glory from them.

But with Mary it appeared someone had stolen from her, the truth which his teachings made available, it appeared the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy had done a thorough job on her, it appeared all the days spent teaching her were wasted, and nothing was gained from the moments he had spent imparting her with the word of life. In spite of all that was at her disposal, she was as helpless the ones she was supposed to serve as a beacon of hope and a ray of light to. You see Mary represented what is wrong with many of us believers today, we spend what appears to be loads of  time in the word in, but it appears for some reason we are unable to retain the word and as a result, we unable to bear fruit with the word.

The question that would be asked of Mary would be, what happened to the words you were taught? What did you do with the words or who stole the words from you? Sadly Mary is not here to answer these questions, but we are, since we are prone to the same lapses, perhaps we should be the one to answer these questions, because sooner or later we would face our own Bethany. Our Bethany might be just around the corner where all that God needs to move on our behalf is to act upon the word that we have been privileged to hear. Let us go back to Mary one more time, what did she make of those days when she would sit at the feet of Jesus to listen to him teach her? Did she think she was hearing tales by the moonlight? Did she think that all what transpired in their house at the time, was all part of the entertainment which Jesus brought along with him as their guest?

Once again Mary is not here to answer these questions, but same questions can be thrown at us today who are even more privileged to have the seed of the word sown into our lives on a regular basis via a plethora of sources. Speaking about the privilege of the seed of the word, it must be said that our generation is so blessed with the access we have to the word. From TV, to radio and to the bible we have the privilege of constantly hearing the word. In addition we have the benefits of many teachers, both in the physical and in the person of the Holy Spirit himself, a privilege that was bequeathed to us through the sweat and blood of the Messiah, what excuse do we have not to produce with it?

What should Mary have done you may ask? Are you implying that Mary should have performed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead?. Not quite, but to start with Elijah was a man like us Jesus said, so was Elisha and all the other who walked in the power of God. But let us assume for a minute that the faith of Mary was not enough to carry out such magnitude of miracle (some of the disciples had failed a simpler task by the way), nevertheless there is still much that is demanded of Mary, based on the privilege being taught the word by the Son of God and having seen him at work. I believe this was what informed their decision to send for Jesus. Not only that, the response which they also got that he (Jesus) was on the way. The least which the word of God could have done in the life of Mary based on this information is to elicit hope, a hope that should be visible for all to see. The least she could have done from the time spent at the feet of Jesus being taught by the Son of God is to exercise a different disposition from the crowds that do not know their right from their left. The word and the teachings she had received from Jesus should at least have produced a different Mary from the one that came out to welcome Jesus who was no different from the hapless crowd. Not only that, her confessions also ought to have been different from the confessions of Martha whom Jesus rebuked as not giving enough time for things that mattered in life. The point here is that the teachings of the Messiah it appears did not achieve anything in the life of Mary. The word of God and the mysteries of the kingdom that was revealed to her, it appeared made no impact on her or her condition in the world.

For Jesus, the sight of Mary displaying the same hopelessness and helplessness which the milling crowd that came to mourn the death of Lazarus displayed was enough to evoke a deep sense of sorrow from deep within. It was not the death of Lazarus that evoked this; rather it was the sight of the one who ought to know better, whose confession ought to be different that unnerved Jesus. It was the sight of the one who ought to testify to the glory of the Son of God with what she had been taught and seen that got Jesus worried and this eventually moved him to tears. It was the sight of the one who ought to give hope to the rest of the mourning crowd but herself was overtaken by hopelessness that moved Jesus to tears. He was moved to tears because the one who ought to be the light to others through her faith was not different from those who were in the dark. He wept because the one who was supposed to point the mourning crowd to the gift of life that is in the Son of God, the one he came to give to the world was herself in need of someone to show her hope. What happened to the one who is supposed to be the light to the world?

Why did Jesus weep? He wept because he could not find the faith that was needed when he got to Bethany, he was not expecting it from the crowd that came to mourn it was expected rather from those whom the Messiah had poured out the word of truth into, the ones who were now expected to bring forth with the word. If those whom the Messiah had spent time with while preparing them for manifestation of his glory are struggling, what hope is there for those who are meant to be drawn to God from the glory that is to be displayed?

The truth is the word of God is given to produce in us, it remains the power of God through which the truth that sets us free is revealed to us. We have an obligation therefore to the word of God, and that obligation is to allow the word not only to dwell in  us, but to also transform and re-shape us. The word is given to us to help us grow and to make us productive in order to take our position in the kingdom.

It is not too late neither is it too grave for God to handle

Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” – John 11:38 – 40.

If there is any message we can deduce from the reactions of these two sisters, it will be that if at all they had any faith at all, at least going by their confessions, then we can define that faith as one that:

  1. That believed that the saviour came late and as such there was nothing else that can be done. As far as they were concerned, Jesus the saviour came too late and as such there was nothing left to do, he had failed his friend and the one he loved by coming too late to save him. They are not alone who think God is late in answering, they are not alone who believe that if they do not receive it according to the way and time they scheduled for themselves, then God visitation is a tad too late.
  2. Not only that, they believed that situation was too grave, it was now beyond what Jesus could handle, Lazarus to them now belongs to the grave and nothing could bring him back. Not when rigor mortis had set in and the decaying process started. Once again a number of us believers hold this limiting view about God, sometimes when we say ‘Perhaps it is the will of God’ , we need to be honest by admitting that we are simply throwing in the towel on God. We need to admit that just like the sister at the grave we are also saying ‘Save it for another day Lord, this one is beyond redemption’.

Surely God glorified himself in the Son, for he showed that nothing is ever too late for him to accomplish, neither was anything too grave for him to rectify or breathe the power of life over and bring back to life.

The two points raised indicted the faith of the two sisters, for true colours of their faith was painted by these two points. The truth is for many believers our faith can also be mirrored by these colours, we fret , we worry, we grumble and we lose our sleep, finally giving up on God because somewhere deep inside we agreed with unbelief that it is too late for anything good to come out what we have been waiting on the Lord for. For many still we simply look at our situation and we simply agree with the word impossible irrespective of what the word of God might have to say on the situation.

But the word of Jesus still reverberates and echoes through the millennia, the very word which he spoke at the grave of Lazarus challenging every of his disciples who make the claims that they believe, he dropped the challenge to each one of us today saying:

“Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?

What does this mean to you and I ? Well simply put, if we truly believe and hold on to our faith, we would see the glory of God. We would see the promised glory in whatever area of our life we are clinging to his word, be it for that healing, for that breakthrough, for that deliverance from addition, for that broken marriage or for that provision. He is saying if we believe enough and refuse to commit out belief to the grave, we would see that promised glory. The problem is when he showed up in answer to that prayer, would he find the faith? If he showed up to take people home to their inheritance, would he find you and I holding out to him in faith?


1 Corinthians 15:55-57
“?Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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