I’m watching the news that can’t stop speaking about the bombings that took place in Brussels. Or is it the newscast that is broadcasting about the attacks in Paris, or is it the attacks in London, or in Madrid…there are so many they are hard to keep track of. I say that with full recognition that I have been to all of those places where these bombings took place and twice had to deal with tracking down my kids who were planning to go on the metro in Moscow when bombs went off, the last one on the very lines that my kids used.
When Jesus hears of the illness, and eventual death, of Lazarus his response was: “This illness does not lead to death, rather it is for God’s glory.” Can we honestly say in regards to these bombings and these very real deaths where resurrections are not visibly taking place, that these are for the glory of God? When Mary and Martha, the sisters of the dead Lazarus, greet Jesus when he comes to their town their consistent approach to him is: “You’re too late!” Those are my words not theirs. Their words are: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Those were the words of Martha. Mary says: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Huh, the very same words. Jesus, if you had been here, then no one would have died. Jesus, if you had been in Brussels, Paris, London, Madrid…NEW YORK, PA, AND DC, no one would have died.
Many times our first reaction to injustice and death that touches us when we have not deserved it is to blame…Jesus. If you were just here. So how does Jesus’ response make sense that these events will in some way: “lead to God’s glory”? Well in the case of Lazarus, the revelation of the glory of God became apparent within a few days, less than a week. Lazarus is raised from the dead. Jesus is, after all, the resurrection and the life. Faith is built around belief and hope and trust. Faith is not built around the way in which our life turns out on this earth. When the rain falls on the good and the bad it is not because God is absent, but rather because life continues to move forward with God in control. It is hard to believe at times that God is in control when the rain is falling on us. But He is, and the story of Lazarus reminds us of that. The impossible happens with Lazarus, and it can and does happen with us when Jesus moves and directs us.
The final scene of the religious leaders going into a panic is a great contrast to the control that Jesus has over the situation in the verses dealing with Lazarus.