bullseye

well, it only took from january to march, but i finally have internet in my office. if there is anyone left to read this blog, i hope to be posting regularly again from now on.

this past sunday night i preached from john 11. this passage receives a lot of attention in
a lot of ways, but the verses that stand out to me are verses 5 and 6.

5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 
6So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill,  he stayed
two days longer in the place where he was.”

in our rush to get to the miracle of jesus raising lazarus from the dead, we often skip over
details that give us a deeper and more well rounded insight into what john is telling us.

jesus knew that lazarus was dying. he knew that mary and martha would be upset. *so* he stayed. he did not go and heal him. he let lazarus die. he let mary and martha weep and mourn and hurt. different translations say different things, but in the original language the idea presented (and worded) is he loved them *so* he waited.

but why? jesus himself answers this question- demonstrating his motivation for everything he did while on earth

v. 14 – Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe”

v. 40 – Jesus said to her,  “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

v. 41- 42- “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me

the glory of god and pointing people to that glory and belief in him as the christ was (and still is) always jesus’ main priority. and he accomplished his goal, as he always does.

often times in the midst of our pain in a situation, we cry out to god wondering why or how he could let us go through whatever it is we are suffering through. after all, isnt the most loving thing to free us from any pain?

the testimony of scripture is “no!” the most loving thing god can do for us is to save us from his wrath that we deserve and apply to us the righteousness of christ that we do not deserve so that we may have eternal life and peace with god and joy in him!

john piper has some excellent and soundly biblical thoughts that force us (me) to think past our (my) human short sightedness and adulterous love affair with comfort:

Most people do not immediately see God’s passion for the glory of God
as an act of love.One reason for this is that we have absorbed the
world’s definition of love. It says: You areloved when you are made
much of. In other words, love for someone means mainly making
him or her central or important.

The main problem with this definition of love is that when you try to
apply it to God’s love for us, it distorts reality. God’s love for us is NOT
mainly his making much of us, but his giving us the ability to enjoy
making much of him forever. In other words, God’s love for us keeps
God at the center. God’s love for us exalts his value and our satisfaction in it.

If God’s love made us central and focused on our value, it would
distract us from what is most precious, namely, himself. Love
labors and suffers to enthrall us with what is infinitely and
eternally satisfying: God.
Therefore God’s love labors and suffers to break our bondage
to the idol of self and focus our affections on the treasure of God….

Oh how many people today – even Christians – would murmur at
Jesus for callouslyletting Lazarus die and putting him and Mary and
Martha and others through the pain and misery of those days.
And if they saw that this was motivated by Jesus’ desire to magnify
the glory of God, many would call this harsh or unloving.

What this shows is how far above the glory of God most people
value pain-free lives. For most people love is whatever puts
human value and human well-being at the center.
So Jesus’ behavior is unintelligible to them.

But let us not tell Jesus what love is. Let us not instruct him how he
should love us and make us central. Let us learn from Jesus what love
is and what our true well-being is. Love is doing whatever you
need to do to help people see and savor the glory of God
forever and ever.

Love keeps God central- because the soul was made for God.

 

amen and amen…

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