Jesus escaped the grasp of the Jews as they were about to seize and stone Him because of the supposed ‘blasphemous’ statements He made that left His audience aggravated about the Kingdom of God; He told them He was one with God – they had never heard anyone speak in that way and manner. Consequently, He escaped from Jerusalem and went to another town; His disciples fled with Him and didn’t wait around. In some quarters, they would have thought about why He ran for His life even though He had just told them that He was one with God. In another quarter, questions would have been raised on why Jesus did not pray to God so that His enemies were rendered powerless. However, you just cannot know or fathom what God is about, as God will bring Him back almost immediately to the same place and town.
Common to many in the Church is the idea on how we can make God give us what we require of Him; we have been taught on how to confess and possess the things we want or are lusting after; we have been given various steps as to how everything we lay our hands to do will span out for us living the life here in this world; and we have also been taught on how we can pray and enforce God’s Will in our situations and our much varied circumstances. The question in the skeptic mind is, if I can do all the aforementioned things, why then do I need God? It also gives a picture of “I can get God to do for me, the things that I want done”.
Can we wrap God around our fingers, calling Him when we want Him because we have fulfilled certain requirements or some parts of the requirements (if there are any)?
Here we read about the story of Lazarus who was sick and we’re also able to see a somewhat funny picture being painted by the writer of the story. It’s a picture depicting what we do to achieve the things that we want done. Also painted is the hospitable personality of Lazarus’ sisters and the fact that Mary wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair. Obviously, they were quite close to Jesus and they immediately sent a message to Him about their situation, expecting Jesus to respond almost immediately because they felt they had been kind to Him and therefore He must reciprocate the goodwill.
The writer went on to express how Jesus loved Lazarus and his family and anyone who reads or knows this would expect that Jesus should have left all He was doing and head back to Judea where He was going to be killed. He got their message but did not respond in a way they wanted Him to. God had His plan on how He wanted Jesus to get back to Jerusalem. God also had a plan on how He would prevent the people from stoning Jesus because God had a few things He still expected Christ to do for Him in that same city.
Jesus made a statement about Lazarus’ sickness – it was not unto death but that the family and the people in the environment would experience the glory of God. Sometimes it’s not about us or our situations, rather it’s about the glory of God, which is embedded in His plans. Lazarus died and Jesus still remained in the same place for two days after He heard about their predicament. Mary and Martha on the other hand, would have pondered on the way Jesus decided to pay them back with His own kind of love – He didn’t meet their expectations; and it was for this reason they told Him that Lazarus would have been alive if He had responded on time. I can imagine their frustration and bitterness all because Jesus decided not to do it their way.
To quote from Isaiah the prophet – he was speaking the mind of God when God confirmed to him in a message that, “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work. For as the sky soars high above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think”.
It is possible that God will achieve the same results expected but in His own way. In this case, Lazarus died and his sisters knew it was the end (or they thought it was the end) and they had buried him. Jesus however, was on His way to them; returning to the city of Judea where He left some few days prior.
Jesus arrived at Judea and alas no one attempted stoning Him. He saw Martha (one of Lazarus’ sister) who expressed how sad she was that the Master did not do what they expected Him to do. Mary, the other sister sat still in the house but was later persuaded to go to Jesus. They also had people around them, some of which had come to console and comfort them but Jesus headed for the graveyard where Lazarus was buried. Of course, information about His arrival would have spread round and many in the city would have heard. Some may have even said to Mary and Martha: Is this the way to pay you back? We saw Him in your house eating your food, drinking your water and He could not help you when your brother was sick? What can He do now; it’s been four days now. Even in their cynicism, they all went with Jesus to the graveyard.
This will be a good time to pick up this usurper, His enemies would have thought; let’s wait to see what He would do at the grave of His ‘dear friend’; now we have everyone against Him and if nothing happens (we know nothing will happen), it will be time to stone Him to death and none of these people would raise an eyebrow. So they thought. This is the reason why I like what Charles Spurgeon said – “alterations and afterthoughts belong to short-sighted beings, who meet with unexpected events which maneuvers them to change their minds, but the Lord who sees everything from the beginning has no such reason for shifting His ground”.
Who would have thought Lazarus could ever be restored to his family after being in the grave for four days; who would have thought that Jesus knew what He was doing by waiting until a day like this; who would have thought many would change their minds to follow Him; who would have thought that He would be accepted in a place where some days prior, He was rejected and almost killed; for many believed in Him and many were disappointed that their plans to kill Him didn’t work out. All this happened because of Lazarus. God selected his family so that many would come to Him having witnessed this phenomenon. Indeed, Jesus loved this family more than they could ever imagine, He wouldn’t have chosen a better family.
Are you going through a particular situation that eventually might lead to losing one or two things like Mary and Martha? Have you ever doubted God’s love for you because of the present circumstance or occurrence? I know you have prayed, I know you have been told to give; I know you have been told to fast; I know you have been told to sing praises and the many more things you have been told to do! Remember God has a pre-determined plan and His coming to you might not be in the way you are expecting or have expected, but surely, He is on His way to you.
What the sisters wanted, they got but not in the way of their expectation.
God has a plan, depend upon it: it is an insult to the supreme intellect if we suppose that He worked at random, without a plan or method. To some of us it is a truth, which we never doubt, that God has one boundless purpose, which embraces all things, both things, which He permits, and things, which He ordains. Without for a moment denying the freedom of the human will, we still believe that the supreme wisdom foresees also the curious twisting’s of human will, and overrules all for His own ends – C.H Spurgeon