Read: John 11:1-16
Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” (John 11:14, 15 ESV)
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were Jesus’ friends. There are a few different stories from the gospels that include them. Each of them are significant in their own right, but the account of Lazarus is both unique and powerful.
Jesus heard that his dear friend Lazarus was sick and decided that it was time to return to Judea. It was a trip that concerned the disciples due to some threats that had been made. Jesus’ comment about both his friend’s death, and the purpose behind his trip is revealing.
Jesus was glad that his friend had died. What a strange comment. Typically only the worst sort of sociopaths could find enjoyment in the death of another. But Jesus is no lunatic, he is beyond us. He was glad, not for the death, the gospel writer does say that Lazarus’ death brought him to tears. No, Jesus was glad because the death of someone the disciples knew brought about an opportunity for them to experience the reviving power of Christ first hand.
I usually only have a very limited perspective on personal tragedy or hardship. I find great difficulty in ascertaining the proverbial silver lining. But Jesus knew the reality of Lazarus’ situation. He knew that for his friend there was still life to be lived. There was still work to be done.
It would serve us well to remember the example of Lazarus when we are faced with difficulty. God does not abandon us in hard times. I believe He actually draws closer. You may never know as trouble sets in, Jesus may be looking at it as an opportunity to work a great thing in your life.