Delay Is Not Denial

So when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days. (John 11:6)

Let’s set the stage here. Lazarus was a friend of Jesus and when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, Jesus remained where He was for two more days. When Jesus finally arrived to see Lazarus, he was dead for 4 days. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha were filled with grief and were angry at Jesus. They asked Him, “why didn’t you come when you heard Lazarus was sick? You could have healed him, now he has been dead for 4 days and he is already decomposing. There is no hope now!”

Do you feel as if God has shown up too late for your situation? Do you think God has ignored your cry for help? Do you feel as if something is so far gone as if decay and death has set in so great that there is no hope for resurrection? Well then, let us go a little further with Lazarus. Jesus already knew that Lazarus was going to die, yet He purposely didn’t arrive in time. Why? Well first of all Jesus knew that if Lazarus would have been dead for 4 days that his body would have started decomposing. In the Jewish culture there was also a belief that the spirit of a person would remain around the body for 3 days and then depart. Notice that Jesus waited 4 days. Why? Again Jesus knew that the Father would receive all the glory for the miracle about to be performed because Jesus waited that long. If Jesus would have arrived when Lazarus was sick and healed him, it would have been a miracle but not to the magnitude that it would be had He raised him from the dead. Yet even if Jesus raised him from the dead, the Jews would have said that Jesus was a hoax because Lazarus’ spirit was hanging around his body (as they believed), and his spirit decided to rejoin Lazarus and come alive again. They believed this because they had seen many people supposedly come back to life after a day or two of them dying. They really hadn’t died but instead were in a coma or had an illness that imitated death, so when they awoke in a few days they believed that the person’s spirit had re-entered the body therefore their belief of the spirit remaining for 3 days. That in mind, Jesus waited 4 days to prove to the people that Lazarus was really gone!

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He gave Lazarus new blood, new skin, new organs! He was a new man. If Jesus had healed him when he was laying in bed sick, he would have been fixed but not brand new. Still the same old Lazarus with more time on this earth. Jesus isn’t interested in giving us status quo, He wants new life for us!

Many times in our lives we need to come to the point of dying so that we can be made new. A fix just won’t do for us because God wants us renewed, not just fixed. So many people in the Bible waited for long periods of time to see their promise fulfilled. Joseph waited years to reach the throne and in those waiting years he lived in a pit and a prison. Abraham was 100 years old when he saw His promised son Isaac born. It took the Israelites 40 years to reach the promised land. I myself have been waiting decades for a specific miracle to take place. There are reasons for the waiting period. In the time that we wait, our faith is tested, patience is learned and our dependance on God has a chance to flourish. God knows what He is doing, don’t be discouraged brothers and sisters. He will come through for you. He is setting the stage for the most glory to be recieved by Him through the miracles to be performed in your life. Delay is not denial!

Pastor Michael Cannatello