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March 6 | John 11:1-44

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REFLECTION


Timing is Everything

by Elaine Pierce


This is a familiar Bible story: Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead! I'm guessing that you have read it many times and heard many sermons preached on it. Today, as I read and re-read these verses, I was struck by what is not here. What happened after Lazarus walked out of the tomb? Jesus tells Lazarus' friends "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." (v. 44) But what happened next?


Imagine the scene. We know that Jesus loved Lazarus, and his sisters, Mary and Martha (v. 5). He knew that Lazarus was sick, and he could have gone to his home in Bethany earlier. But Jesus had a plan.


Both Mary and Martha are grief stricken that their brother has died. Both sisters are certain that Jesus could have healed him (v. 21 and v. 32). But Jesus had a plan.


Lazarus was buried in a cave, and a stone laid across the entrance. This was not a small stone. I would guess that several strong friends of Lazarus had to move it. The grave is now open, and when Jesus cries out, "Lazarus, come out!" I am guessing that Lazarus' friends are holding their breath. How can he be alive? He's been in there four days. They had to be on pins and needles, almost not wanting to see what would happen next.


When Lazarus walked out of the cave, he must have been greeted with gasps of amazement, shouts of joy and tears of gratitude. How could they contain their joy? Their brother, their friend, was alive. I would think that they celebrated this miracle long into the night. He who was dead is alive. Scripture doesn't tell us what the celebration was like, but it had to be filled with joy, laughter, and much hugging and warmth.


We do know that later Jesus had dinner at Lazarus' home (see John 12), so their relationship continued and grew after Lazarus' resurrection.


Jesus always has a plan and his plan is always good. Mary and Martha doubted his timing, didn't they? They had a plan they thought was better, and they were disappointed - yes, they were angry - that Jesus do what they thought he should. Oh, I so often find myself in the very same place is these sisters. I'm guessing you do, too. Let's ask God to help us to trust his plan and his perfect timing. And let's thank him that he always keeps his promises.

 

Lord, your timing is always perfect. Help me to trust you this week, day by day, and to thank you for your plan and your gift of grace. Amen.





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