Lent Devotional Day 26

Day 26
Sunday, March 19

John 11:28-57

28 After she said this, she went and spoke privately to her sister Mary, “The teacher is here and he’s calling for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to Jesus. 30 He hadn’t entered the village but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were comforting Mary in the house saw her get up quickly and leave, they followed her. They assumed she was going to mourn at the tomb.
32 When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled. 34 He asked, “Where have you laid him?”
They replied, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus began to cry. 36 The Jews said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “He healed the eyes of the man born blind. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
Jesus at Lazarus’ tomb
38 Jesus was deeply disturbed again when he came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone covered the entrance. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.”

40 Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?” 41 So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 I know you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43 Having said this, Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”

45 Therefore, many of the Jews who came with Mary and saw what Jesus did believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47 Then the chief priests and Pharisees called together the council[a] and said, “What are we going to do? This man is doing many miraculous signs! 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our people.”
49 One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, told them, “You don’t know anything! 50 You don’t see that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed.” 51 He didn’t say this on his own. As high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would soon die for the nation— 52 and not only for the nation. Jesus would also die so that God’s children scattered everywhere would be gathered together as one. 53 From that day on they plotted to kill him.

54 Therefore, Jesus was no longer active in public ministry among the Jewish leaders. Instead, he left Jerusalem and went to a place near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
55 It was almost time for the Jewish Passover, and many people went from the countryside up to Jerusalem to purify themselves through ritual washing before the Passover. 56 They were looking for Jesus. As they spoke to each other in the temple, they said, “What do you think? He won’t come to the festival, will he?” 57 The chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where he was should report it, so they could arrest him.

“All in God’s timing.” This is a phrase that has been hard for me to accept at different times in my life. More often than not, I don’t want to wait for God’s timing. And I definitely don’t want His timing to conflict with my own timing. I mean, I know what I want and I know what’s best, right? 

In the story of Lazarus, we see this hard-to-accept phrase play out in real-time. Jesus is told that Lazarus is sick yet He doesn’t go to him. He waits DAYS and only goes when He knows Lazarus has already passed away. His disciples don’t get why he’d go at all if Lazarus has already passed. When He gets to Bethany, Mary and Martha don’t understand why He waited so long to get there. Those that have gathered with the sisters in mourning also can’t see why He didn’t come sooner to ensure Lazarus would be healed. Nobody gets it. They’re experiencing pain and loss that would have been avoided had God just showed up sooner… right? 

But Jesus knows that in order for them to believe He is who He claims to be, they all have to wait for the timing. His heart is heavy with grief at the loss of this friend that He loves dearly, yet knows again that the timing is everything. Had Lazarus been healed by Jesus before passing away, it likely would have been only a few who knew about the healing. Raising Lazarus from the dead four days after his passing, when he was already entombed ensured that so many more were gathered to witness, and the miracle would be life-changing en masse. 

I don’t always understand the waiting, or the pain that sometimes accompanies it. But re-reading stories like Lazarus’ helps put into perspective the ripple effect that can happen when the timing comes to pass. 

Lord, I thank you that you are in control of the circumstances in my life. Help me to remember that your timing is perfect, and often for reasons that I don’t understand. Give me comfort and peace in the waiting, and faith to know that you will never fail to show up at the right moment. - Amen

By Jessica Broombaugh

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