I cannot help but be stopped in my tracks every time that I read John 11:5-6.
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. (John 11:5-6, ESV)
The Bible says that Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, so when he hears that Lazarus was ill, He stayed where He was for two days longer. What?! This seems crazy to me. If I were the one who was capable of healing my friend whom I loved, I can’t imagine hearing about their illness and then staying where I was so that they could die! If I had the power to save them, I would rush to their side right away!
But Jesus is the Glorious Savior, and He often does things differently than we would. In truth, He always does them better than we would, but that is not always easy for us to see and accept.
As it turns out, Jesus showed up in Bethany and wept over the death of Lazarus. He miraculously and marvelously raised Lazarus from the dead. In fact, this was His plan from the beginning. The verse prior to the verses already quoted show us His plan in plain text:
…. when Jesus heard [that Lazarus was ill] he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4, ESV)
Jesus may not always be the quickest in how He goes about things (at least not from our perspective), but He is always working out His plan.
John 15 may be my absolute favorite passage of Scripture. When I was a Youth Pastor, the church remodeled my office and I had an opportunity to pick any passage of scripture to have written on the wall. This is the passage I chose:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:1-11, ESV)
It was a little long, so that last few verses were not included, but I loved seeing this passage ever day as I sat at my desk and prayed for the church, and for the students in the Youth Ministry, and for my family, and for myself, and for the world.