God's delays are not God's denials. And when God delays or we perceive it as a delay, it doesn't prove that he's not on time. It just proves that you're not on time. We go, God, you're late. No, you're just way early. You see, he wants to dress up his gifts, his packages, and he takes enough time, takes all the time needed to dress up his package, his gift, the right way before he presents it.
Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. In sports, it's all about the results, recent results. Funny thing is, sometimes we can have the same expectations of God. It doesn't matter what he's done for us in the past. What matters is what he's done for us lately, and especially when it comes to sickness.
If we don't get immediate results, well, then what kind of a great God is he? Well, today in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, Skip Heitzig takes a look at a perfect example of that and share some insights as to why God doesn't always handle things the way we want or expect. If you open your Bibles to John chapter 11 today, we'll join Skip Heitzig as he begins this study by sharing a story about open heart surgery. Let me tell you about Alan. He was a motorcycle mechanic. One day he was working on a Harley-Davidson pulling out a piston. He looked up and he saw on the other side of the shop a pretty famous heart surgeon. He was renowned.
He was well known in the community. The surgeon had brought his motorcycle in to get somebody to look at it in the shop. Alan said, hey, Doc, can I ask you a question? So the heart surgeon made his way toward Alan. Alan got up, wiped his hands with a rag, and said, Doc, look at this engine. This is the heart of this motorcycle.
He said, Doc, he said, Doc, I too open hearts. I take valves out and fix them. I replace old parts with new parts. And when I'm done, Doc, this motorcycle will be like brand new. So as I see it, Doc, you and I do the same work.
But why is it that I make so little money and you make the big bucks? Doctor smiled, thought about it, leaned over to Alan, and said, try doing it with the engine running. Big difference between working on a motorcycle that isn't running and a human being that is. There's probably few people you trust more than your doctor. You trust that he or she will make a correct assessment of your physical stature, nature, constitution, that they'll know what to do if something goes wrong. In the Bible, Jesus himself pictured himself as a physician, a doctor. In Mark chapter 2, when people were criticizing him for hanging out with the wrong crowd, he said to them, healthy people don't need a doctor.
Sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough. Jesus was the great physician. In fact, Jesus was the master physician with a 100% success ratio. Without the help of anesthetics, antiseptics, chemotherapy, surgical suites, drugs, he cured a variety of people.
Here's an example. In Luke 5, he was a dermatologist, somebody with the dreaded disease of leprosy, untouchable. Jesus touched him and healed him. In Luke 13, he was an orthopedist, a woman bent over. Her stature was out of shape for 18 years, and the Bible says she was loosed from her infirmity. In Mark chapter 5, Jesus was a hematologist.
A woman had an issue of blood or a hemorrhage of blood for 12 years. In fact, the Bible says she suffered many things from many things from doctors and spent all that she had and was no better, but rather she grew worse. In John chapter 4, Jesus played the role of a pediatrician as he healed the son of a nobleman who was at Capernaum. In Matthew chapter 8, he played the role of a neurologist. A centurion servant had what the Bible calls a palsy, a disorder of the central nervous system that eventuates in paralysis, cured 100% by Christ. In John chapter 9, he was an ophthalmologist as a man born blind was healed by Christ, and he did it in very unconventional means medically, right?
He took a mud ball and spat on it and put a spit in the mud in the guy's eye, and he said, now go wash yourself, and the man was cured. And here in chapter 11, we'll see that he is a post-mortem resuscitative specialist. Lazarus, by the time Jesus gets a hold of him, has been dead for four full days, and Jesus will resurrect him from the grave.
But not so fast. The setup, the introduction toward the miracle tells us a different story. Here we find Dr. Jesus with all power and all ability to heal every disease who has at many times healed complete strangers, lets his friend Lazarus die. In chapter 11 of the gospel of John, we transition off of the public ministry of Jesus and onto what we call the private ministry. It's where he turns from the crowd, he's done with the nation, they have rejected him, he leaves them, and for the next few months before his crucifixion, he concentrates on private ministry.
He is secluded within his own group, the disciples, as he trains them. Something else to make note of, the timing. In chapter 10 of John, it was the winter time, the feast of dedication takes place in the dead of winter. Chapter 12 is the Passover already, that's the spring time. So somewhere in between the winter time and the spring time, the resurrection of Lazarus takes place.
I want you to think of something remarkable. We're really at just the midpoint of this book. We've been in it for a long time.
We're at the midpoint. In chapter 12, we're already at the Passover at which Jesus Christ was killed. Don't you think it's remarkable that John spent as much time on the 48 hours, the last 48 hours of Jesus' life, as he did the first 33 years of his life? Because to John and Mark and Matthew, all the gospel writers, the most important event that Jesus did was his sacrificial death on the cross, hence the lion's share of the focus is upon that event.
And he slows down as he moves toward the cross. There's a few principles I want to note with you this morning in our verses, verses 1 through 16, and here's the first one. Jesus' friends get sick, verse 1. Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister, Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Now it seems that this family was pretty well known to John's readers, just the way he positions and introduces them. He says, now there was a man, a certain man who was sick.
And so the readers would want more information. Well, his name was Lazarus. Well, that didn't really help because a lot of people were named Lazarus.
It's the Hebrew shortened form of the name Eleazar. And so John says, oh, that's the brother of Mary and Martha. And if you don't know who they are, it's the Mary who anointed the feet of Jesus. And since John was the last of the four gospels written and Mary and Martha and Lazarus were spoken about in the other gospels, plus everybody by now knew who Lazarus was. He's the guy that got raised from the dead. So they knew the readers.
They understood now who he was talking about. And he continues, verse 3, therefore, the sister sent to him saying, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God that the Son of God may be glorified through it. Lazarus and Mary and Martha were close friends of Jesus, almost like family. If ever there was a home away from home, it was the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha that was that for Jesus. They lived in Bethany. Bethany's about a mile and a half outside of Jerusalem, just on the other side of the Mount of Olives.
You can walk to it. And Jesus spent a lot of his time there. And now his good friend Lazarus is sick.
And the word sick indicates a disease of deterioration leading to death. And when it got to critical mass and it was tending toward death, they immediately thought, we got to summon the great physician. We got to call on Jesus.
There's only one person we need to get, and that is Christ. I love their appeal. I think it's simple.
And it has no instructions in it. Notice it says, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. Now, notice the basis of their appeal. They don't say, Lord, you know, you've stayed at our house a lot. And the food you ate was our food. And the bed you slept in, those were our sheets.
And you've hung out there quite a bit, so we kind of think you owe us one. None of that manipulation. Nor did they say, you know, Lord, Lazarus really loves you. And Lazarus really served you.
That would be bribery. It wasn't on the basis of their love for Christ or Lazarus' service of Christ. They appealed to Jesus on the basis of his love for them. Not that they didn't love him. Of course they did. But his love for them was so much greater.
It's a beautiful appeal. They just state the need, and they don't tell Jesus what to do. That's a good prayer. A lot of times we say, Lord, we had a problem, and here's how you ought to fix it.
They didn't do that. Lord, all you need to know is the one that you love, and Jesus knew who that was, it was Lazarus, is sick. They took refuge in Jesus' love for them. Now, it's worth noting the word love that they used is the word phileo. We get the term Philadelphia, the city of Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Philanthropy, philanthropic, comes from this Greek term phileo. It means brotherly love.
Close, brotherly affection, friendship love. So they're saying, Lord, your close pal, whom you have a deep friendship with, the one you love like a brother, is sick. Now, could it be, here's a thought, could it be that Mary and Martha, like so many of us, were actually surprised that somebody that Jesus loved that much could get that sick?
It could be. In fact, there's a hint of that in the word behold. Notice how it's written, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. Like, Lord, look, wow, this guy really loves you, and you really love him, and he's really, really sick. Typically, we get surprised when sickness comes. I don't know why we do, but we do. When sickness comes to Christians, we kind of think, wow, I mean, Lord, what kind of love is this?
If you really love me, why would you allow this to happen to me? But it really shouldn't surprise us. It shouldn't have surprised Mary and Martha. It shouldn't have surprised Mary and Martha.
It shouldn't surprise us for this reason. Number one, because the man that Jesus loves is still a man, and ever since the fall of man in the garden, there has been in all of nature a constant entropy and deterioration. It's part of the fall. Jesus said the sun falls on the just and the unjust, and the rain pours on the just and the unjust, the righteous and the unrighteous alike. Ever since the very beginning, from the fall of humanity, there has been a deterioration, and people get sick, and they die. Walter Martin, a great apologist years ago who came every now and then to this church, one of the many things he said that I smiled at was, everyone dies of his last disease.
I know it sounds very simple, but it's so profound. Something's going to get you. Everybody dies.
Everybody gets sick. Job, chapter five, verse seven, writes, man is born to trouble as surely as the sparks fly upward. That's what Job said, even though certain people in the last 20 years have developed a faith movement that says, if you're really Jesus' friend, you won't get sick. You've got a real problem here because Lazarus, Jesus really loved, and there's no evidence of gross sin in his life or anything wrong, and yet he is very, very sick. Charles Haddon Spurgeon preached on this very text that I'm speaking on, and in his sermon he said this, the love of Jesus does not separate us from the common necessities and infirmities of human life. Men of God are still men. The covenant of grace is not a charter of exemption from disease. So it shouldn't surprise us because the man Jesus loves or the woman Jesus loved is still human. Second, it shouldn't surprise us because God uses sickness for our benefit.
Did you know that? I have talked to people, I can't even count how many times I have over the years, who have told me, you know, I knew God and I knew my Bible, but when this horrible thing entered my life and I didn't want it, I didn't relish it, I wish it would have gone away, and yet the intimacy I have discovered with my Lord, the resources I have found, my Bible has never come alive like it has now. You know, that happened to David. David wrote in Psalm 119, it is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn your statutes. Sickness helped David understand his Bible like never before.
There's a third benefit, and that is it is used by God for the good of others. When you go through a time of suffering and others look at you and they will and they will scrutinize and they will see how you're doing with it, it can actually be for their benefit. Now watch this, go down to verse 14. Jesus said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe.
Nevertheless, let us go to him. What happened to Lazarus in his illness and subsequent death did more to further the faith of the disciples than just about anything else. What they're about to see in the suffering and death of Jesus' friend bolstered their faith. Have you ever thought about it this way, that you and I are on display?
And have you ever just taken this thought and applied it? That suffering believers are one of the ways God uses to let the world know that he's real. When they see us suffering like they suffer but in grace and in trust and in humility and in belief that God has a greater plan, they will take a double take at our faith.
They will consider deeply what we believe. Verse 4, Jesus said, this sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God. Now he's not saying Lazarus won't die because he eventually says, let me tell you, you're not getting it, he's dead.
But what he means is that ultimately death won't be the outcome, it will be life. But the greater point is that sickness and even death may sometimes be God's will for his children, for his people, for his friends. So number one, Jesus' friends get sick. Number two, as we follow the story, Jesus' foresight gets seen. As we make our way through the story, we get the strong indication that Jesus not only knows what is happening, he knows when Lazarus is dead past the point of sickness and he's not even close to him geographically. But also he has everything in perfect control.
He's monitoring everything and the timing is just right. So watch this, verse 5. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister, that's Mary, and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was sick, he stayed two more days in the place where he was. Then after this, he said to his disciples, let us go to Judea again. You'll notice that rather than rushing the disciples, you'll notice that rather than rushing to the side of Lazarus and rushing to Mary and Martha, that Jesus waits.
Now I want you to notice this. Look at it again, look at those verses. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. You see the word love there, it's different than what the sisters sent in the note or the messenger. They said, the one whom you love, phileo, brotherly love, he's sick. Now John, the author, writes his own commentary, his own note, and he states so we might know, now Jesus really loved them. And the word he uses is agape, agapao. That's the divine love, that's the total love, that's the complete love. And then it's followed by the word so or therefore.
So let me read it to you as it should be understood. Jesus loved them with a complete unending ongoing love and so he stayed two more days. In other words, Jesus' delay was directly connected to his love for his friends. I know, I know you're thinking, what kind of love is that? Somebody's sick and so I really love you. I'm not coming.
I'm gonna stay till he's dead. How can this be? I mean shouldn't it read something like Jesus really loved them so he immediately ran out and stood by their side.
Doesn't say that. He stayed two more days and he arrived, get this, four full days after Lazarus had been buried in the tomb because he loved them. If you have ever experienced God's delays in your life, I want you to listen carefully.
Let me rephrase that. If you've ever experienced what you perceive to be God's delays, I want you to listen. God's delays are the delays of love.
The motivation is love. In fact, let me say it this way, God's delays are not God's denials. And when God delays or we perceive it as a delay, it doesn't prove that he's not on time. It just proves that you're not on time. We go, God, you're late.
No, you're just way early. You see, he wants to dress up his gifts, his packages, and he takes enough time, takes all the time needed to dress up his package, his gift, the right way before he presents it. It's the right time to give it. His delays are not his denials. You know, especially when it comes to issues like sickness, it can be hard to understand why Jesus doesn't do something immediately to help. That's what we want. However, God's plans go beyond the immediate and focus on the eternal. And that was certainly the case with Lazarus.
And who knows, it may often be the case with us. We'll continue to explore that some more next time here in Kanekwiskip, Weekend at Edition. But before we go, this update from the KanekwiSkip Resource Center. these six books of the Bible, helping them see the context and significance of each. Soaring Through the Bible is a travel guide from Genesis through Revelation for kids. Each chapter provides a flight plan for exploring a portion of the Bible, along with a brief synopsis that shows what the chapters are about and language kids can understand. Creatively designed with kids in mind, Soaring Through the Bible also features fun illustrations and fascinating facts to keep young minds and hearts engaged and interested. Soaring Through the Bible for Kids will prepare a child for takeoff on a lifelong journey of learning and loving God's Word. We will send you a copy of this unique book along with a booklet for you by Skip titled Why Truth Matters. Simply make a donation to support and expand this radio program with a gift of $50 or more.
Call 1-800-922-1888 or order online at connectwiskip.com. God desires for us to know Him intimately through the study of His Word. That's why we share these messages to help you and many others connect to God through His Word and grow in your walk through an intentional relationship with Him.
And when you support this ministry, you keep these teachings you love available to you and to so many others around the world so they can grow and connect with God as you have. Just call 1-800-922-1888 to give a gift today. That's 1-800-922-1888 or visit connectwiskip.com slash donate. That's connectwiskip.com slash donate. Thank you. So why would the great physician ever let any of his patients die? We'll continue with our study and see if we can find some more answers next time right here in Connect with Skip weekend edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-19 04:17:52 / 2023-11-19 04:26:32 / 9