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 11:14-15 – 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 him.”
John Piper adeptly points out in The Blazing Center that the account of the death and eventual resurrection of Lazarus serves to teach us an invaluable lesson about the importance, the very primacy, of the glory of God. Lazarus, a good friend to Jesus, was sick. He was, in fact, dying. Jesus, rather than going to heal Lazarus the minute he received the news, instead chose to wait until Lazarus died before heading to the village.
Here are the obvious points to ponder: Did Jesus love Lazarus? Yes. Did Jesus love Lazarus’ family? Absolutely. Did Jesus love his own disciples? Without question. Then how in the world did Jesus let all of these people go through such pain, such sorrow, such tortuous agony of losing a dear loved one when Jesus could have prevented the entire situation? That last question is the one worth pondering.
It was more loving for Jesus to let Lazarus die and to let his family and friends suffer loss than it would have been for Jesus to have come and healed Lazarus. How? Because, when they all saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead, they saw more of the glory of God than they ever would have experienced had they simply experienced a healing. Thus, it is more important for us to experience the glory of God than it is for us to be healthy, happy, comfortable, or even alive.
Do you have in your mind a list of things that God has to do for you if he really loves you? You had likely better change that list. God need only do one kindness for you to demonstrate his love; that kindness is that he reveal himself to you. God need only let you experience a relationship with him in order to give you everything you could ever truly need. “Let me know you! Let me see your glory! Let me experience your presence,” should be the cry of your heart. Do not keep comfort and ease as the tests for God’s love. God demonstrated his love for you when Christ died for your sins (Romans 5:8). And, God shows you ultimate love when he allows you to see his glory and power, no matter what pain you have to travel through in order to gain that glimpse of God’s glory.