Day 158: June 7, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

John 11:1-44 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Fools! Didn’t He who made the outside make the inside too?

—Luke 11:40

Where Is Jesus When You Need Him?
by Peggy Overbey, Member of Brentwood Campus

My father had been in the hospital for a month and I was expecting to hear he was going home soon. I lived 650 miles away and had visited him once. When the phone rang, I hoped I could plan a trip to visit him and mom.

The message was this: “Your dad isn’t going to make it. Hurry home.” Halfway home, I called the hospital room. No answer. Home? No answer.

This was before cell phones, so I knew the next 350 miles would be heavy. I had to make the decision—go to the hospital or the house?

I turned onto their street and the cars were lined up. I parked the car, got out, and hit the hood of the car with my fist. I knew my father was no longer here. He was dead.

Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, friends of Jesus and whose home He had been in many times, was sick. The sisters sent a message to Jesus, letting Him know His friend and their brother was sick.

They knew Jesus could heal—that He loved them. They fully expected Him to come right away. Now isn't that just like us to call on Him when we need Him and He hasn't even been to eat at our house (in person)?

Jesus didn’t come then. Lazarus died and was buried. Jesus, even though knowing people were seeking to kill Him, went back to Judea. He’d told the disciples that Lazarus was asleep and He was going to wake him up. The disciples were thoroughly confused. You wake up from sleep, not death.

Jesus wanted to teach them that death isn’t the final answer in this situation. Neither is it for us today if we’re believers in Christ alone for our salvation. My father and my husband (who died in 2011) are more alive than they’ve ever been and death isn’t the last word for them either.

Jesus knew He’d reveal the glory of God in the resurrection of Lazarus, so He went back to see the family. The disciples were grouping in darkness, and Mary and Martha were filled with despair.

Martha left the house in a hurry to meet Him (not conventional for a woman of the East) and let Jesus have it for not being there. But she still believed that whatever Jesus asked of God, God would give Him. Confused about Jesus’ answer that her brother would rise again, she said she already knew that Lazarus would rise in the resurrection.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life…” Martha shut up and went to get her sister Mary. Quite a contrast here, Mary fell at Jesus' feet weeping. Her friends were weeping. And even Jesus groaned in the spirit and was troubled.

Asking where Lazarus was they replied, "Lord, come and see!" Can you feel the heart of Jesus? Is He cold and thinking, "Get over it, girls, he’s not dead." No! Jesus wept and groaned within Himself.

A stone lay before the entrance to the tomb and Jesus asked that it be removed. You know the story. Jesus had a talk with His Father and then He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”

The brother and friend was bound in grave clothes. His face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said, "Loose him, and let him go."

As we rode in the funeral procession for my father, there was a policeman saluting and halting traffic for us at every major street. My daughter said, "Mom, that’s the only time my heart, body, and mind have ever been in the same place." We felt a little of what Mary and Martha must have felt—the presence of God.

Where is Jesus when we need Him? As a Sunday school teacher used to say to us, “God may be very slow, but He’s never late.”

Reflection Questions

  1. Do you think Mary loved Jesus ore that do we judge each other today?
  2. Although Jesus is not alive in person today, He dwells within our heart. Do you pray your petitions before Him with the same confidence that Mary and Martha had?
  3. Why do you think “Jesus wept”? Examine your own heart concerning what and how you will feel when a loved one dies.
  4. Listen to these two songs: “Lazarus Come Forth” by Carmen and “Four Days Late” by Karen Peck

About the Author

Peggy Overbey

Since 1977, Peggy has been a member of Brentwood Baptist. She’s worked with and helped establish the Benevolence Ministry, taught Sunday School for students and adults, and was involved in the Women’s Ministry and their Bible studies. She was on the organizing board and also volunteered with GraceWorks Ministry, a ministry partner of Brentwood Baptist. In her free time, Peggy loves gardening and enjoys spending time with friends and sharing God's word.