‘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 11:5–6)
Every time I read these verses I’m shocked! Jesus’ dear friends need him. His buddy is unwell and all the signs look like it is going to end in death. Yet Jesus seems to ignore the urgency of the issue. He seems to overlook the perilous position that Lazarus is in. Anyone looking in from the outside could easily conclude that maybe Jesus wasn’t such a good friend after all, because if he were, he would move heaven and earth to be with his friends. Yet we read ‘So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was’.
What’s going on here? If I’m honest I don’t fully understand these verses, yet one thing is certain: the love of Jesus for Martha, her sister and his dying friend Lazarus runs way deeper than just resolving the immediate and urgent need. In the lingering — or apparently absent — love of Jesus we see him revealing something of his nature that is so profound (his death-defeating power) that it could never have been seen or understood, had Jesus jumped up the moment the call for his help had come.
I wonder if there are moments in our lives when we are encountering the lingering — or apparently absent — love of Jesus? If so, like Martha, her sister and Lazarus, prepare your hearts to see and learn something new of the nature of God.