Does anyone else find Jesus’ behavior in this story to be a bit odd? Instead of rushing off to be with his friends in their time of need, as we expect, Jesus lingers where he is. There is no urgency to his response, not even a hint of concern, and while Jesus is tarrying somewhere on the other side of the Jordan, Lazarus dies.
Not until the end of the story do we begin to understand why Jesus would allow Lazarus to die. Jesus says to the disciples, “for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” (John 11:15) The delay is intentional. Jesus waits, because he wants his disciples to believe in him with complete certainty, to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he truly is God’s Son. Only God can give life, and when Jesus later restores life, he proves oneness with God.
Jesus loved Martha, Mary, Lazarus, and the first disciples, and Jesus loves us. Even though we all experience the pain of loss in this life, we can trust Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God, and he can and will give new life to all who believe in him.
Prayer: Merciful God, when loved ones pass away and we feel an emptiness within our hearts, come and fill us with hopeful confidence in Christ that we may trust in his promise of everlasting life. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Paulette McHugh,
Vicar at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lexington, SC.