The Gospel of John: Part VI

by Joanna Pierce on December 15, 2016

The Gospel of John continues to weave snap-shots of Jesus’ life through intricate stories that aren’t mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. This week, we continue our study in John 11, with the story of Lazarus. In this Scripture setting, we find God’s process for His promises.

God’s Process

Scripture tells us Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was sick. But, Jesus did not rush to meet him straightaway and continued to dwell where he was (John 11:1–6). Jesus told Mary and Martha that Lazarus was not sick unto death, but upon the death of their brother, both Martha (John 11:21) and Mary (John 11:32), both told Jesus that Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had been there.

Many times when we have a problem, we think God doesn’t understand our circumstances. We may find ourselves questioning God and His plan, and wondering if He’s truthful. Mary and Martha were frustrated with the process of Jesus, but were missing out on the greater promise. We will learn from this story how God will reveal a deeper glory in our lives in His processes, which will show His power and authority over time.

Promise Principles that Prepare You for the Process of Receiving God’s Promises

God’s Timing is Different than Ours

God’s not limited by time and He doesn’t operate according to our watch. In this Scripture, Jesus abode 2 days where he was until He left to visit Lazarus (John 11:6). There are 2 different types of time references in Scripture: chronos and kairos. Chronos is chronological time; the time in which we are used to and live our lives by. Kairos is opportune time; a time of visitation or a season.

Abraham was a man who experienced both chronos and kairos time in his life. He had to wait 25 years of chronos time before the kairos time of God’s promise (the birth of Isaac) occurred. The key in our life is not to get frustrated while waiting for God to move in our life. We need to be patient and allow the chronos time sync up with the kairos time. Eventually, there will be a now time in the middle of God’s season and He will perform what He said He will do.

God’s Perspective is Different than Ours

God is trying to eliminate our own view of life. Instead, He’s wants us to adopt how He sees things as His perspective is different than ours. When Lazarus died, Jesus said that he only “sleepeth,” and was going to wake him up (John 11:11). Our humanity limits the way we see God working in our life. We can’t see the future or all of the circumstances of the present. We don’t realize how God allows some things to come into our lives to grow us and to provide a benefit we cannot see on our own.

Job was a man that in one day, his entire life came crashing down around Him. In his situation he failed to see God was proving him and not punishing him. He couldn’t understand why tribulation was occurring in his life. If we look at the world with our own eyes, we’ll miss out on the true blessing. It isn’t until we get God’s perspective that we’ll truly understand (Psalms 73:2–17). If our promise looks dead to us (like Lazarus), it may only be sleeping.

God’s Method is Different than Ours

Instead of doling out miracles left and right, God wants us to be invested in our miracles. All throughout Scripture, we see people’s participation in their miracles: Jesus told the blind man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:7), the lame man to take up his bed and walk (John 5:8), and the man with a withered hand to stretch it forth (Matthew 12:13). In the story about Lazarus, Jesus told Martha and the people around them to take away the grave stone (John 11:39), called Lazarus himself to come forth (John 11:43), and the men to loose Lazarus from his grave clothes (John 11:44). They all participated in the miracle of Lazarus being resurrected from the dead.

King David, before he entered the palace and occupied the throne had to exercise self-control many times when fleeing Saul. God could have very easily taken Saul out, but God put David through a time of “participation in his miracle” before he truly became king. When we desire a miracle in our life, we want to seek out the easy way. But, there are some things in life God will do for us but others He wants us to do so that we grow. Isaiah said that he would put on the garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3)—we need to take action and follow God’s plan!

God’s Feeling is the Same as Ours

When we hurt, God hurts with us. When Jesus saw the downcast hearts of Mary, Martha, and those around Him, Jesus groaned in His spirit and wept (John 11:33–35). He felt the agony of the loss, pain, and hurt of everyone who didn’t understand the process of God’s promise.

When we experience problems in this life, the one thing that will sustain us is knowing God understands. God promised to always be with us (Matthew 28:20), and He knows everything that we think and feel (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus faced every sort of emotional strain on the cross, was touched with our infirmities, but did it all without sin in His life.

When we’re in the middle of a situation, know that God is there to hear our cry and our call and to wipe away every tear. It’s just the process of God’s promise, and He will carry us through until the end.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on December 14, 2016