29 Mar 2020. 5th Sun Lent. Cycle A-2020. Ez 37:12-14 + Rom 8:8-11 + Jn 11:1-45.

The illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (Jn 11:4).

Six lessons I learned from Christ raising Lazarus from death.

1. Proximity with Christ does not insulate one from crisis.      

Jesus loved the siblings—Mary, Martha and Lazarus. When Lazarus was critically ill, they pleaded for Jesus to come over.  God loved Jesus, yet He let Jesus suffer. God loved the holy ones, yet He let some of them suffer and die from illness and persecution. He let some of His beloved to be afflicted and let some die from the Covid-19 pandemic.

2. Christ creates crisis where He can work wonders and show that He is God.

Jesus assured, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Jesus, you stir the storm and the plague to show that You are God mightier than natural calamities (cf. Ex 9:14-16; 14:4). May Your Name be glorified through this pandemic.

3. God cannot be rushed; He waits for the best time to act.

Lazarus was still alive when Jesus was summoned. He let Lazarus die before He would rescue him. “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died,” Martha and Mary wailed. Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep and I am going to awaken him.” Let this plague awaken us in time, O Lord.

4. The Christ of miracles is in control; trust Him.  

The crowd of mourners murmured, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?” Jesus, I know You even healed remotely (cf: Mt 8:5-13; 15:21-28). You assured, “In the world, You will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33).  

5. Suffering with miraculous healing is an opportunity to teach.

When Jesus finally arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in Me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” Some of us would survive to testify to Your glory, O Lord.

6. Christ weeps with those who suffer in crisis.

“And Jesus wept.” So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; saves those whose spirit is crushed. The Lord rescues the righteous who cries out to Him (cf. Ps 34:16-21). Jesus, hearken to our plea. Do not hide Your face from us. VSS 

Picture credit: Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Oil on canvas 1870 by Carl Bloch. Det Nationalhistorike Museum, Frederisborg, Denmark.