I was reading John 11 today where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. But before he does that amazing miracle, we read that he allowed Mary & Martha to endure the loss and grief that comes with losing a loved one, although he knew their suffering would be temporary. But he allowed that grief so he could show his glory.
Jesus was not only a friend, but a great teacher to Mary and Martha. He didn’t rush in and raise his friend Lazarus back to life. He stopped for this essential exchange with Martha, who starts by expressing her dismay that Jesus was not there to save her brother. And yet, she maintains her faith that Jesus could raise him back to life. Jesus assures her that her brother will rise again, and Martha assents that of course, Lazarus will rise again on the last day. Then Jesus shares this amazing truth with her about being the resurrection and the life, and asks her if she believes it. “‘Yes Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.'” He then has an emotional moment with Mary, and finally goes on to call Lazarus from his tomb. But in those first moments, with those women Jesus calls friends, he brings them to an essential place of remembering who he is and what he has promised. He wanted them to understand clearly that he is the resurrection and the life. That he is the Messiah, the Son of God. That he alone brings eternal life. He wanted them to really know because he was preparing them to spread the word.
In my own life, I can find myself hurt or suffering or at a loss, and since I know God is able, I sometimes wonder why he hasn’t yet stepped in. But if I’m going through difficulty, one thing I can know for sure is that God is at work. Jesus is also my great teacher. I love this image of Jesus. That he longs to pull me aside and be sure I understand who he is. Because he knows me, has revealed himself to me, loves me dearly, and is preparing me to spread the word about him. I am one of his beloved pupils. I have been chosen by Jesus for private tutoring. And not just me, but all of us who call ourselves his disciples. We’ve all been given the privilege of being called to Jesus’ side for the real lesson before the lesson. I don’t know about you, but my heart skips a beat at the thought of the God of the universe calling me out specifically to be a part of his work. He has invested in me and is hoping that every time he’s about to show how he has been working in the circumstances of my life, that I will remember the lessons he has taught me before about who he is. He entrusts me with the privilege of knowing him and understanding his teaching so I can see him at work in my life, apply his teaching, and share it with the world. What an honor! There is nothing I would rather do than bring glory to Jesus, my best friend, beautiful savior, and great teacher.
And so the syllabus for the course of life requires that I wait on God to show himself and daily seek him in his Word. That I create the time and space for those Jesus/Martha conversations where he reminds me of who he is. That I let him teach me and give me understanding. So that when the time comes for him to show me his solution for my circumstances, it will all make sense, and I will see what he was doing, and I will be empowered to proclaim his work to the world.