John’s gospel account moves on to another miraculous sign, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. At first Lazarus was sick, and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, were very concerned about him. They sent a message to Jesus, who was far away on the other side of the river Jordan (10:40), to tell him that their brother was sick. But, Jesus says, God’s glory will be seen in his Son as a result.
John makes a point of telling us about the love that Jesus had for all three members of this family, which the sisters also mentioned in their message when they said, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’ So there is no shadow of doubt that when Jesus decided to delay two more days before going to the family in Bethany he acted in love.
The disciples were alarmed to go back to Judea at all, such was the hostility that Jesus was likely to face there. Thomas thought they would probably die there. But two days after receiving the message Jesus said it was time to go. For me his words to the disciples are a reminder that there is a right time to do things. Jesus says walk in the light, not when it’s dark. Years later John picked this up and wrote that we should walk in the light and so have fellowship with God and with our fellow believers.
God’s timing is perfect. For Mary and Martha the waiting must have been painful. They watched as the condition of Lazarus got worse and worse. They must have grieved when he died v14, and still their great friend Jesus had not come. Why had it taken so long for him to come? We often don’t understand God’s timing of events. We ask ourselves and we pray, why does he delay? Our faith is tested by his timing. Yet we know that he is working all things out according to his purpose, and because he loves us.
Pray for faith to trust God for his timing of events which affect our own lives. Pray about the decisions we take today which affect other people’s lives, and that we may both act in love and keep in step with the Holy Spirit.