John 11:1-7 Now a man was sick, Lazarus, from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Him: “Lord, the one You love is sick.” 4 When Jesus heard it, He said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. 7 Then after that, He said to the disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.”
We see so much of our Savior in these verses for our comfort and His glory. First we see the true hope of every Christian, and that is that we are loved by the Lord. Lazarus's sisters did not appeal to Jesus on the basis of Lazarus's love for Jesus but rather they did it on the basis of Christ’s love for Lazarus. Is this not wonderful, Christian? Is it not wonderful when you are loveless and weak and to the point of death that your cry to God is, “Lord, you love me?” Isn’t it sweet that when we plead for those around us who are suffering we can say in our imperfect love for the person, “Lord, the one whom you love is sick?” Yes! Christianity can be summed up in these words as we are first and foremost and always people who are defined by the eternal, invincible, unchanging love of God in Christ. Yes! So consider when you are mindful of your imperfect obedience, your various weaknesses and faults and you are wondering whether or not you could and should turn to God that you are to lay hold of this truth. And that truth is that we appeal to Jesus because He has loved us with an everlasting love.
There is another jewel of comfort in these verses and that is that everything in our life which is against us is not a useless tragedy for us to bear, but rather it is a manifestation of God’s special love for us. Does God work some things for our good or all according to Romans 8:28? You see even death which is our greatest adversary is said to be for the glory of God and for confidence in His glory to flourish. It is because Jesus loves us so dearly that He waits as we are bruised and battered by this fallen world. He is not absent or indifferent, Christian, to your greatest trials, no, He is loving you with a great and tender love through them. How can this be, you may say? Christian, what is our great comfort and joy and hope? Is it not the overcoming power of God in Christ? Is not the gospel the power of God unto salvation? Is not the loving Christ the saving Christ? Do we not see the wonder and power and love of God in salvation from the greatest evil? Does this change after your conversion? No! To the brother who is on his deathbed, this is not the end but rather this is for the glory of God! One day the Son of God will say to you, “Come forth!” and you will rise perfect and glorious in physical form and you will see and forever celebrate the glory of a God who raises the dead in ways you never could if you had not died. To you sister who are struggling with unbelief, doubt and guilt; take courage this darkness is not unto death but that when Christ restores to you the joy of your salvation you will rejoice more in the power of Christ than ever before. To the couple whose marriage seems to be at its end, take courage this is not unto death but rather that when the power of Christ restores it you may with from the depths of your soul say, “Christ is a mighty Savior!” To the Christian who seems to be bound by a particular sin, take courage this sin is not unto death but that you may see that it is the blood of Jesus and that alone which cleanses us from all sin! Christian, God loves you so that He will wait to restore and rise you up so that you may be more absorbed in the supreme joy and bliss of the glory of Christ who raises the dead to life!