Daily Word

Love is painfully patient | John 11:4-6

4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not meant for death, but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 5 (Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister, and Lazarus.) 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. 

John 11:4-6 (NASB)

The distance between where Jesus was and Bethany was about a day’s walk, about 20 miles.  By the time He heard the news, Lazarus was likely already dead. Certainly Jesus couldn’t have made it back in time. 

Love of Jesus

Jesus loved this family. Only one other time did the author (John the disciple) mention that Jesus specifically loved someone. He refers to, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in John 13:23, 19:26 and 21:7. This person was John himself. This doesn’t mean He loved others less. Leave a comment if you have ideas on why John specifically pointed out Jesus’ love for them.

So why didn’t Jesus heal Lazarus and keep him alive? Surely He could have spoken the word and healed him. As we saw yesterday, the Father had revealed to Him what would happen (“will not end in death” v4) and likely also how to handle this situation – to wait.

Love is painfully patient 

1 Corinthians 13 is called the live chapter since it defines the characteristics of love. As I memorize, meditate on and try to apply it, I get stuck on “love is patient, love is kind.” (1 cor 13:4) In verse 6 of today’s passage, we see that Jesus waited. How do we reconcile this with v5 – that He loved them? Of course He should have gone up right away; even if it was too late. But he chose to wait. Why?

He knew what would happen. He knew that God would raise Lazarus from the dead. The end would overwhelm the interim pain of the loss. He himself suffered pain as we’ll see later. Ultimately, as we saw yesterday, Jesus knew that waiting would demonstrate God’s glory like no other miracle. His love is painfully patient. 

<- Reflection ->
  • Do we have this kind of love, a love that is painfully patient? It doesn’t happen naturally. I encourage you to memorize, meditate on and apply this love chapter – or just 1 cor 13:4-8a. 
Traffic jam. Patience. Image from Pxfuel.com

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