He wasn’t present at their most trying hour. He knew what they were going through, but he chose not to be there. Those around him seriously began to wonder what kind of friend he really was. …
He wasn’t present at their most trying hour. He knew what they were going through, but he chose not to be there. Those around him seriously began to wonder what kind of friend he really was. How could he really be a true friend and yet abandon the very ones who needed him most?
If this storytook place today, he would have been bombarded with emails, phone calls and text messages, all pleading for his help. “Where are you? Please come, there isn’t much time.” But he seemed to ignore all the pleas for help and continued on working, as if they didn’t exist.
By now, you may be wondering, what kind of heartless person is this? Who needs a friend like that? Before you go too far, let me explain: This was Jesus — the one who created the first man from the dust of the ground with his own hands and breathed his own breath of life into the first man. Not one plea for help escapes his notice.
It was more difficult for him to patiently wait for his dear friend to die than we can possibly imagine. He had the power to heal Lazarus, but for the glory of God, and to strengthen the faith of his followers down through the ages of time, he had to allow his dear friend to come under the power of Satan and death.
I hope you understand, even though Jesus was not physically with his dying and grieving friends, he was still there by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are never outside of his love and care. No matter what the circumstances may be, he cares and is with you as “you pass through the waters.”
As Jesus comes to the town where Mary and Martha live, he waits just outside the city for his friends to arrive. Like many people today, Mary and Martha didn’t completely understand the divine power of Christ. We profess to believe that he can save us from our sins, but do we really believe that he has the power to change us?
When Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus, he could have said to the stone blocking the entrance the same thing he said to Lazarus: “Stone, be moved.” But he didn’t. Instead he chose to allow human beings to play a part in the wonderful events of raising Lazarus to life.
When we cooperate with him, to remove the obstacles, he will work his power to save, heal and restore.
As Jesus looks on, his heart is grieved for all those who will witness the miracle he is about to perform and yet still choose to reject him as their lord and savior. The tears begin to flow and those who look on are amazed at the depth of love and compassion Jesus has. All eyes are riveted on him, wondering what he is going to do. Then that voice that will one day call each one from their graves, the “Life Giver,” gives life back to one who died trusting in him.
As Lazarus comes forth wrapped in funeral clothing, Jesus again enlists the help of humanity: “Loose him, and let him go.” Once again, we see that God uses us in the plan of saving others.
Today, you can point someone to Jesus. You can pray for them and ask God to remove the obstacles that may block them from walking in the new life he gives. We can’t do God’s part and he chooses not to do his part without us. Are you ready to be his hands and feet?
(Steve Nelson pastors the Powell and Cody Seventh-day Adventist churches.)
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