Daily Word

Reason for affliction | John 11:1-4

1 Now a certain man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, he [our brother and Your friend] whom You love is sick.” 4 When Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness will not end in death; but [on the contrary it is] for the glory and honor of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

John 11:1-4 (AMP)

This seventh sign of John’s gospel, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, is one of the most dramatic. It surely contributed to Jesus’ final arrest and crucifixion. “There is no parallel whatever for the raising of a man who had been dead for four days and whose body had begun to putrefy.” (Barclay, quoted by enduringword.com)

This passage also provides another subtle claim by Jesus to be God: “for the glory of God”…so the Son of God may be glorified.”

Loved is sick

Spurgeon makes an interesting observation about this miracle that applies equally to us. Lazarus and his sisters were loved by Jesus yet they still suffered afflictions. Jesus loves us. We too suffer afflictions. Jesus tells us to expect it: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 13:33 ESV) Paul confirms it in 2 Corinthians 1:5 and others.

Reason for affliction

Many books are written and sermons given for the purpose of suffering. One famous one by John Piper is, Don’t Waste Your Cancer. Those who have rested in God’s grace by faith through serious suffering can share with you from their heart. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 gives us a key purpose for our suffering – to bring God’s comfort to others.

In this account, Jesus provides the ultimate reason: for God’s glory. How do you react to that? Some will take it hard and wonder how a loving God can allow a stroke, cancer, financial collapse, relationship failure, etc. This is a natural response and one that does not offend God – when coming from a heart struggling to understand and keep God high and lifted up.

This statement of Jesus is so filled with hope and grace. Jesus, with a full knowledge of what the true end of this sickness is, tells His disciples that it will not end in death. Yes, it involves death (in fact Lazarus is already dead by this point) but that is not the end. The end will be God’s glory… as we’ll see shortly.

<- Reflection ->
  • Are you in the midst of affliction? Speak to your soul as David did in Psalm 42:5 to hope in God. Feel free to contact us.

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