Lazarus (Part 12) – Providence and Pain

by Rick

Read John 11

 

This morning we continue our series entitled, “The Year of Supernatural Manifestation”, with our mini-series on “The Miracles of Jesus.”  Let’s continue with the story of Lazarus.

 

In our last message we saw how Jesus finally had His encounter with Mary.  Mary’s words were no different than Martha’s initial words.  She said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Although Martha had spoken these same 12 words to Jesus, they did not move Him to action.  Mary may have said the same thing, but she said it from a different position of the heart.  Mary spoke these words from her knees, from a position of worship, a position of surrender.  Mary laid at Jesus’ feet, crying, worshipping, releasing her pain, and Jesus was moved to do something about it.  

 

The Bible says that when Jesus saw her weeping and He looked around and saw all those that had come with her weeping as well, He was deeply moved.  Jesus was often compelled by compassion.  He looked past her words of frustration and saw a pure heart, a heart of worship, a heart surrendered to God.  It hurt Jesus that this family, a family He loved had to endure so much pain.  He already knew what the ‘end of the story’ was going to be, but it pained Him to have to watch as a family suffered.  So instead of going into a lengthy discussion, like He had with her sister (a discussion that had gotten nowhere), Jesus asked, “Where have you laid him?”  Mary could not say a thing.  She was still overwhelmed with grief.  Those with Mary said, “Lord, come and see.”  

 

Then the Bible says, “Jesus wept.”  That’s it, just two words. Verse 35 is the shortest verse in the Bible, but one of the most powerful.  Jesus was moved to tears, because of the tears of Mary and the others.  He literally wept.  He cried.  He sobbed.  He identified with their pain.  He connected with their hurt.  He was moved by their situation.  Why?  Because He loved them.  See, part of the reason why Jesus came down from heaven to live like we live, walk like we walk, get tempted like we get tempted, feel like we feel, and hurt like we hurt, is so that He can identify with our pain.  The writer of Hebrews said, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.  Instead, we have one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet he never sinned” (4:15).  Jesus is our High Priest.  He is in heaven as our advocate with the Father and He can identify with us.  Jesus knows what it is like to feel pain, discomfort, and disappointment.  He lived down here so that He can connect with our situations from up there.  Jesus wept.  

 

So what does this mean to you today?  A few things:

 

1.  God can get glory out of bad situations.

a)  God does not create a bad situations, just so He can turn around and help you out of them.  That would make God a monster.  But what God does is take bad situations and turn them around for your good and for His glory.

b)  The Bible is riddled with situations that satan meant for evil and God turned around for good.

c)  When God is working through a bad situation in your life, knowing how He will manifest His glory in due season, it does pain Him to see you endure hardship and pain in the process.

d)  God did not create the sickness that attacked Lazarus’ body and ultimately killed him.  But He did use the situation to advance Jesus’ ministry in the earth.

 

2.  Don’t ever forget that pain is often involved in any story where God gets the glory.

a)  The story of Lazarus is amazing.  We are preaching this story over 2,000 years later.  When it happened, the news spread like wildfire.  God was glorified.  Jesus was exalted.  Hopes were lifted.  Faith was stirred.  Impossibilities seemed possible.  But don’t forget that a family had to endure tremendous pain in the process.  Lazarus had to die.  Mary and Martha had to mourn.  Jesus had to cry.  Remember that the next time you are facing a painful situation where you know God will get the glory.

b)  God never promised us a pain-free life.  As a matter of fact, the Bible says, “All that live Godly will suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12).  Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33).  Thankfully, He went on to say, “But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”   

 

3.  You serve a God who cares.

a)  You don’t serve a distant, despondent or disconnected God who cannot identify with your situation or that pain it has caused you.

b)  When Jesus saw Mary crying and all the people with her crying, He was also overwhelmed with grief and pain.  Jesus wept because the people He loved were in pain.

c)  Jesus was 100% God and 100% man.  As God, Jesus could see how both He and the Father would be glorified through the situation.  But as a man, He wept.  He cried.  His heart hurt for the family who had to go through this terrible situation.

d)  Your God knows both ‘the end of the story’ and the pain you are enduring in the process of getting there.  His providence ensures His purpose is manifested in due season.  His love ensures you are able to hold on until that time.

 

Closing Confession:  Father, this is a year of Great Victory for me.  You are revealing Yourself to me in a way that helps me endure the pain of the process.  I know I am called to purpose.  I know Your will, will be manifested in my life.  I know I am on the road to my destiny.  But that does not mean I am exonerated from challenge, opposition or pain.  When I am enduring pain, I remind myself that You are sovereign.  You know the end from the beginning.  You already know the end of the story.  And You love me enough to keep me until I get there!  I overcome, because You already overcame!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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