Believe and see the glory

Published 1:30 pm Sunday, February 25, 2024

When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, He seemed to be unconcerned and waited two days before going to see about His friends. When Jesus drew near their home, Martha came out to meet Him, and greeted Jesus with this passive rebuke: “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Upon coming into the place where Mary was, she saw Him and fell at His feet with the same words that Martha spoke, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Both sisters believed that Jesus could have prevented Lazarus from dying; they are not so sure that Jesus can help after such a long time in the tomb.

“Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, ‘Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.’ (Maybe another hint that Jesus did not come sooner to save Lazarus?) Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’ (John 11:14,23) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’ Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’ — John 11:39-44 (NKJV)

We might too quickly condemn Lazarus’ sisters for their skepticism; are we any more trusting of God when we pray for a “miracle”? Do we dare to pray for what the world says is impossible? Are we convinced that God can do what He has said He would do, or are we afraid to risk our spiritual reputation by asking for a miracle? Or, what if God does a miracle when we pray? How will we deal with that? We must “dare to believe” when we pray, if we are ever going to see the miraculous, the impossible, come true.

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If we dare to believe, the promise of John 14:12-13 is for us.

The Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.