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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Even Now

John 11:21,22 - Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.


In John 11 we find the familiar narrative of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It is one of the most extraordinary instances of Jesus’ power in all of the gospels. It was the event that sealed Jesus’ fate in the minds of the Jewish leaders.  Verse 53, Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

It is interesting that upon receiving word of Lazarus’ sickness Jesus tarried two days before going to him.  The delay was deadly for Lazarus.  Yet, nothing in the narrative indicates it was an oversight on Jesus’ part; to the contrary it was the result of his foresight.  His delay was purposeful.  Verse 4, When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.  God is not nearly as interested in meeting our deadlines as he is in glorifying himself. We will have more peace in life if we learn there are times when his delay is for the purpose of creating desperation on our part.  It is in the darkness of desperation that the light of hope shines most brightly.

When the disciples misunderstood Jesus’ words about Lazarus sleeping the bible declares in verse 14, Then said Jesus plainly, Lazarus is dead.  This reality poses a significant paradox.  Jesus had said the sickness was not unto death, and now he firmly declares that Lazarus is dead.  Faith would dictate the final verse had yet to be written on Lazarus’ condition.  In fact Jesus goes on in verse 15 and says, And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.  So this sickness that was not unto death that killed Lazarus was to glorify God and to the intent that the disciples might believe.  This was such a good thing that Jesus said, “I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, . . . .”

When Jesus approaches Bethany and Martha goes out to meet Jesus she speaks some of the most striking words of the whole account.  Verse 21 and 22, Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

“But I know, that even now” This is a statement of great faith.  Her desperation did not deteriorate into disbelief.  Even now with Lazarus dead all hope was not gone as long as Jesus was here.  Martha knew if Jesus had been there he could have kept Lazarus from dying (in fact he did not even have to be there to produce that outcome), but she also knew that though dead it was not beyond the ability of Christ to interpose and grant relief and deliverance.

We should learn to say with Martha amidst our darkest days, confronting our biggest challenges, battling our strongest enemy, suffering our most desperate discouragement, “But I know, that even now”.  We face no difficulty that rises above the ability of our God.  He may be waiting, if so he is doing so with purpose and it could very well be to glorify himself and that we might believe.

I choose faith!  I choose, no matter the circumstances, to say, “But I know, that even now”.
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