What About Timing?

John 11:1–46

Most of us desire fairly good health, stability in work and housing, and a culture that supports all of that.

Being reasonable, we understand that there are things that come up that hinder some of these plans, but we aim to keep life going in the right direction.

This brings me to Jesus.

In John 11 and the narrative of Lazarus, Jesus gets word that Lazarus, whom He loved deeply, along with his two sisters, is ill, and it is serious.

Jesus has the power to heal and has displayed that a number of times. It is an easy scenario: head to Bethany as quickly as possible, and heal Lazarus.

Yet verse 6 says that Jesus “stayed two days longer in the place where He was staying.”

Of course, this makes no sense at all, and because of the delay, Lazarus dies.

Terrible timing! Their goal of keeping Lazarus alive is ruined.

Yet Jesus had been explaining that the goal of healing Lazarus was not His goal. His goal was to do something powerful, and those who believed in Him would be moved into deeper trust (v. 13, 25-26, 45; 20:30–31). That was His goal. 

He raised Lazarus from the dead, and His followers believed more deeply. That was the goal from the beginning.

Unfortunately for us, we grab the wrong goals at times. Nothing wrong with health and stability at home and work, but these are all temporal things. Believing in Jesus deeply is eternal.

The early church who would receive the Gospel of John would need this truth. They would be persecuted and lose homes, work, and even their lives. Yet the martyrs over the ages know that believing in Jesus ushers us into His presence at death. It is our Blessed Hope. This new home is eternal.

I wonder if it wouldn’t be helpful for us to rethink our goals. Goals are fine, but only if they line up under our eternal goal of knowing, following, and loving Christ. Why not begin today!