God’s purposes in our greatest pain

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John 12

12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:

“Hosanna!

‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’

The King of Israel!”

14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:

15     “Fear not, daughter of Zion;

Behold, your King is coming,

Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.

17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”

 

When Jesus did not come quickly to keep Lazarus from dying, Mary and Martha rebuked him.  The others there also wondered why Jesus did not come to keep Lazarus from death.  But Jesus had a greater purpose. He knew that by raising Lazarus from the dead God would be glorified and more people would believe that Jesus was the Christ.  Notice in verse 17 the reference to Lazarus resurrection.  After the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, it is noted that a part of the people’s reaction to hail Jesus as King was due to the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

Mary and Martha had to go through the sorrow of the death of their beloved brother.  They had to go through the intense questioning of heart wondering why Jesus did not come and do something.  Their faith wavered and collapsed as is evident by their rebuking of the Savior.  But God had a bigger plan.  God let them go through that apparent difficulty because He had a much greater and larger plan that required the death of their brother.  God was looking to the Triumphal Entry as a fulfillment of prophecy which required the people have a greater belief in Jesus as the Christ.  The raising of Lazarus provided that extra measure of belief and worship.

Before we think that God has left us alone, before we think that God has missed something important, we need to ask for the eyes of faith to see what God has in mind.  His purposes are eternal and they always exalt His great name.  The immediate situation may appear bleak and painful but there is going to be a greater purpose from our pain.  Jesus did not forsake Mary and Martha.  He was doing the will of the Father who knew what needed to happen.  Jesus has never forsaken us and never will.  Let us not ever be guilty of blaming the Lord for a situation that He could have fixed if He had just shown up.  Instead, let us ask for an increase of faith to be able to see what God is doing through our human tragedies.

There will not be kids club tonight nor next Wednesday.  There will be youth group tonight as it is Mike’s first night with our teens.  Pray for Mike as he steps into this new position.  Pray for him to have a love and a compassion for our teens that they will sense and trust.   We will also have prayer time and Bible study.

On Sunday, one of our church family commented on the strengths of our church and then asked me why our church is not bigger.  I have pondered this often over the years.  As I read the book, Reverberation, I find the authors answer to be clear.  As a church, how much do we talk about, reverberate, the message of the Word of God into our community?  People don’t come to church unless someone invites them. We do have much to offer but unless we bring people in they won’t know what we have.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

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