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John 11 - When Jesus Doesn't Show Up

We expect an immediate response when we cry out to God, but what happens when He doesn't respond?

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John 11 Summary

Mary & Martha do everything right in the desperate situation they faced as their brother lay dying. They immediately turn to Jesus, who's not just one of their closest friends, but also their Lord (v27).

So it's almost shocking to read that Jesus holds back, almost as if He's ignoring them.

After all, how many times hasn't Jesus healed people whom He had no previous relationship with, but when His friend is in need, Jesus holds back. The sisters call Jesus out on this when He finally arrives - after Lazarus has been dead for four days. They both say the same thing:

If you had been here, my brother would not have died (v21 & 32).

While it may seem like Jesus didn't care enough to go, He gives the actual reason He stayed away in v42: so that the people standing there (as well as the people who would read this thousands of years later) may believe that the Father sent Him.

Not only does Jesus not get angry at the sisters' anger with Him, but He enters into their pain. The two words of v35 are the shortest verse in the Bible:

Jesus wept.

Isn't it an amazing comfort to knows what it is to feel the anger, sadness and loss so many of us experience?

However, the biggest theological lesson in this chapter isn't Christ's intercession and experience of human emotion, rather it's the awesome fact that Jesus has authority over all things - even death!

Dig Deeper

Inflection makes such a difference in what the words we speak actually mean. Take Thomas' quote in v16 for example, responding to Jesus' decision to go back to the city where the establishment wants to kill him:

  • So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples,

    • “Let us also go,

    • that we may die with him.”

Did he say this in bold solidarity with Jesus, as in:

  • “Let us also go,

  • that we may die with him.”

Knowing what we know about Thomas, it's more likely he said it somewhat sarcastically:

  • “Let us also go...

  • that we may die with him.”

What about you? How do you respond to calls to follow and serve the Lord? Is it with bold solidarity or is it with a 'woe is me' sarcasm?

AAA Prayer :

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who through His Son listens to our anger, but who has shown His glory by overcoming death (v40-41)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will boldly and gladly respond to God's call in your life.




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