What makes Jesus glad?
I promise to return to the “Digging Deeper” posts, but I just had to share something from my reading/studying this week.
John 11:14-15 - 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 them.”
Stephen and I had the privilege of being present when his grandfather passed away in November 2007. It was such a very special, sweet time. Sitting there as our loved one took his last breath was awesome. Standing around him and praying with the family was beautiful. I am so glad I was there! Jesus told his disciples, that he was glad he was not present when Lazarus passed away! John 11:5 says that Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary and Martha; so, why was he glad that he was not there for them during Lazarus’ final moments?
Jesus cares more about the opportunity to grow faith. The verse above says He was glad because the disciples would be able to believe. Oh, I hope you get this: Jesus cared more about growing his disciples’ faith than sparing Lazarus from experiencing death. For us, that means He cares more about our depth of faith than our pain, unhappiness, grief and even life itself. He would rather us grieve if it means having our faith strengthened. He would rather us see and experience trials to the point of death if it means that our faith would be grown. Jesus was glad he was not there, becuase if he was there he would have kept Lazarus alive. Though keeping him alive would have spared many from mourning, it would not have provided such an opportunity to strengthen the faith of His followers.
If we jump back to John 11:3-4, we see that the sisters told Jesus about Lazarus being ill. Jesus responded, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the Glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified though it.” Now, imagine the thoughts that went though the sisters’ and disciples’ minds when Lazarus DID die.
"But, He said Lazarus wouldn't die! I don't undersand!"
Imagine the faith it took to believe that what Jesus said was still true. Imagine how their faith was grown when they saw Lazarus resurrected. Imagine how they realized that Jesus keeps His word no matter how impossible it seems.
Dear, sweet friend, I don’t know what you may be facing right now, but I believe there are two important applications that we can make from this passage. First, God will keep his word, but his deliverance may come when all hope seems to be lost and it is humanly impossible. Second, he wants to grow our faith more than he wants to spare us from any trial, pain, or grief. He values faith above and beyond the breath of life.
Remember, Jesus is glad when our faith is strengthened!
“…you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that parishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7