|Jesus Told About Lazarus - Unknown|
"God's intention for us is to grow us to the point where he can empower us to do what we want." Dallas Willard
In other words, there is nothing more important than our relationship to our Lord God. The stronger our relationship with our Father in Heaven, the stronger our character develops. When we allow ourselves to be grown to the point where what we want is what He wants, then we are vessels that can be used for incredible good instead of wasted evil.
Mary and Martha's brother, Lazarus, was sick. They did the right thing and asked Jesus for help. When Jesus heard Lazarus was sick, he did what he did for the centurion's servant and healed Lazarus in an instant. Uh, no. When Jesus heard Lazarus was sick, he left straightaway and healed Lazarus. Uh, no. When Jesus heard Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days.
Really? Really?!? What is going on? Why would Jesus seemingly toy with people who obviously had their faith in him? Because there was more at stake than a friend's life or death. In the shadow of such a mystifying action, Jesus plainly tells those who would carry on His Father's mission after Him, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe."
There is nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing more important than believing that Jesus is our Saviour, the Son of the Living God.
In the last three years, I've been working in an administrative capacity for three different charities. One provides free, caring and confidential assistance to women in crisis pregnancy. One provides long-term residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation. And one provides mentoring to women in or just released from prison.
Each charity is approached by people who are desperate for help for either themselves or someone they love. Each charity is approached by people who know deep in the fiber of their being that their life is at a crossroad. They have one final opportunity to turn from the present path. (Although for crisis pregnancy clients, some feel immense pressure to return back to the way things were even though their reality has already fundamentally changed whether they choose to acknowledge it or not.)
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Why does Jesus teach this? Because we tend to change when we hit rock bottom. We tend to only change the direction of our lives when we see a dead end fast approaching. Calls are made everyday from parents and friends who see the path their children or friends going down as a suicide run. They are desperate for help.
But, change is a voluntary program. No one can change for us. We ourselves have to want to be changed. As desperate as we are, as much as we would give our lives for those closest to us, what someone chooses for their own life is their own responsibility. The best we can do for those desperate to see change before catastrophe in their loved one is to advise them on how their loved one can see the bottom before the bottom gets fatally deep.
Is this true of only drug addicts, prisoners and the poor? No. That's one of our culture's big lies. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Each one of us need a Saviour. Those who have amassed great wealth. Those who are the tops in their field. Those who have a nice house with a couple of children. But, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the downtrodden and the desperate, for they see the need for themselves that everyone has.
No one loves us more than our Father in heaven and His only Son. There is nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing more important than believing that Jesus is our Saviour, the Son of the Living God. And, because love is a choice, we have to become convinced to love Him. Is He love? Is He trustworthy? Is He true? Is He everything? How we answer those questions is not a topic. It is THE topic.
He tells them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe."
The astounding part is Jesus has already performed countless miracles. He had already demonstrated a supernatural connection to His Father in heaven. How many people did he need to heal? How many demons did he need to drive out? How many storms did he need to calm? How many different ways did he need to demonstrate his power and authority? Apparently, what he was about to do would top everything else done to this point? He was about to do something that would cause those who had been travelling with him for almost three years to fall to their knees and believe.
Believe what? Let's find out...