by Jerry Ousley
The messenger approached the group of men with reluctance. He carried bad news that had to be given. A very good friend of Jesus by the name of Lazarus was deathly sick. Most thought He would rise immediately and go to His friend. But to their utter surprise Jesus said that the sickness of Lazarus was not one leading to death, and He waited two days.
They doubted Jesus when He waited those two days before going to Bethany. The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem (very close by to Bethany) were seeking Jesus to take His life. Was Jesus a coward? Would He allow the fear of those leaders to stop Him from seeing His dear friend?
And then they doubted Jesus when He chose to go to Bethany. Afterall, they were seeking His life. Why would He want to go there now? He had already said that this sickness of His friend was not one to death. Why take this chance now?
Jesus told them “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” What a strange thing to say. His disciples responded “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get well.” Jesus then plainly spoke and told them that Lazarus was dead. It was Thomas who supported Him, though again through doubt when he said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
When Jesus arrived, He found that Lazarus had already been in the grave for four days. Many Jews had come to comfort Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary. When Martha heard that Jesus had finally come, she went to meet Him. In the course of their conversation Jesus told her that Lazarus would rise again. She agreed but in doubt said that he would rise again in the last days resurrection. To her doubt Jesus responded “I am the resurrection and the life.” He also said to her “Whoever believes in Me shall never die.” Then asked her “Do you believe this?” Martha wanted to believe but still in doubt answered “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” Despite the encouraging, positive words of Jesus. She just could not bring herself to believe that Lazarus could be then and there resurrected. She doubted.
Martha returned and told Mary that Jesus had come and was asking for her. Mary was the one who had anointed Jesus’ feet with the precious perfume and then dried them with her hair. She held nothing back but plainly told Jesus “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” All the mourners had followed Mary when she ran from the house to meet Jesus, and as Mary began to weep then these professional mourners cried with her. Mary loved Jesus with all her being but in this moment, she doubted Him for not being there before.
The crowd doubted Jesus. He asked “Where have you laid him?” As they took Him to the tomb the Bible tells us that Jesus wept. They commented “See how He loved him!” but they didn’t realize that, even though Jesus did love Lazarus, He may have also wept because of all the doubt surrounding Him. Then the doubtful words of the crowd, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”
So much doubt. They doubted that Lazarus could be raised, and the world doubts you. How could such a one be saved? Why would God love a sinner like me and like you? In this world we are surrounded by doubt. We may doubt ourselves. It is human to doubt. Because of the sin in man and in this world, doubt is a natural thing. Remember the incident of the man who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus? When Jesus asked him if he believed he responded with, “Lord I believe …“ then, being honest added “Lord help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24). He couldn’t help but doubt.
We may be surrounded by doubt in this sin-cursed world, but there is One who ignores doubt; Who pushes forward beyond doubt … Who works despite doubt. Doubt troubles Him not and in the face of doubt, He works.
. . . To Be Continued . . .
Jerry D. Ousley is the author of ïSoul Challengeï, ïSoul Journeyï, ïOrdealï, ïThe Spirit Bread Daily Devotional and his first novel ïThe Shoe Tree.ï Visit our website at spiritbread.com to download these and more completely free of charge.
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