Words of Faith 12-14-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
 When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."  Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
As the Holy Spirit breathed upon the John and constructed this Gospel account, He carefully marked out seven miraculous signs, which attest to the power of God in Jesus and to His being the Messiah of God.
These signs are Water into Wine, Healing the Official’s Son, Healing the Paralytic, Feeding the Multitude, Walking on Water, Healing the Man Born Blind, and the Raising of Lazarus. The raising of Lazarus reveals Jesus’ power over the last and most irresistible enemy of humanity--death.
Lazarus was a close friend of Jesus. Jesus often stayed in the home shared by Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus probably stayed there several times a year when traveling to Jerusalem because Bethany was just a short distance from the Holy City. Mary is the one who would anoint Jesus with perfume and wipe his feet with her hair.
Jesus loved this family. They were especially precious to Him. Knowing Jesus' interest in them and the power of God to heal the sick, the sisters sent for Him when Lazarus became ill. The illness must have been serious because they called Jesus to come back to an area where enemies were hunting Him. The sisters' implication was that if Jesus loved Lazarus, He would return. They seemed quite confident that He would be prompt.
When Jesus heard of Lazarus’ sickness, they expected Him to race off to Bethany. But instead He did two things. First, He declared that this would not end in death. Second, He delayed for two whole days in a way that guaranteed death would occur! Clearly, Jesus had a plan in mind.
Jesus declared the victory in advance, but then deliberately allowed the enemy of death a chance to take hold. As we will see later, there would be no question that Lazarus was dead after four days!
Jesus’ response was quite different from that with Jairus's daughter, when he acted promptly (Luke 8:41-42, 49-56), or in the case of the widow of Nain, whose son he raised when he met the funeral procession on the way to the burial ground (Luke 7:11-16). The miracle of Lazarus was to be a sign of greater things. There had to be no question that death was the enemy and death indeed was conquered. This was a divine delay.
We also find ourselves dealing with delays we do not understand. We cry out to God as believers in need of help or healing and we wonder why there is no immediate response. The truth is that we do not know the reason for God’s divine delays but we do know that the victory is already won.
The purpose a divine delay may be for our refining, to conform us more to the image of Christ, or to somehow bring glory to the Lord. Many times we will not know the purpose of a divine delay until we see Him face to face.
As believers standing on this side of the cross, we can rest assured that there is no sickness that will end in death for us. No matter how long the delay, the Lord will either call us from the sickbed or come again and call us to come forth from the grave. The Resurrection we receive will be greater even than that of Lazarus because we will receive a glorified body. Lazarus only received a restored body that eventually died again to await the final resurrection.
Are you wondering about a divine delay? Puzzled by an apparently unanswered prayer? The Lord hears. He knows what is going on and He is purposeful even in delays that make no sense to us at all. He is at work. His plan is coming together. As a believer in Jesus, there is no sickness unto death for you. The victory of the grave has been won. His plan is to raise you to glory.
Father, I give thanks for the magnificence of Your plan. I do not always understand the timing but I trust the Designer. You are in charge. Today I claim the victory over the enemy of death that You have won for me. In Jesus’ name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2002, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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