Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
We turn to the Gospel of John and to Chapter 11 to consider God’s timing and what Jesus Christ offers in these verses – and how he wants to involve others.
There are always things we want – things we want fixed – things that have been broken and we want them repaired or restored – things we want to happen.
There are always prayers that we really want answered.
We face hurts and wounds and abandonment and betrayal.
Here in this passage – John Chapter 11 – is what happens when Jesus intervenes in a situation, which is desperate.
Here we are reading of friends of Jesus and someone is seriously sick – and death is knocking on his door – and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, send someone to get hold of Jesus – and Jesus delays. Jesus takes his time – and by the time Jesus gets there it is too late, humanly speaking – humanly speaking – humanly speaking!
Remember right away – Jesus is never too late – God is never too late.
How many of our delays are only, humanly speaking? There is something going on which we do not see, and which we do not understand.
We have to align our timing with God’s timing – and that will involve patience on our part. “But when the time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law – Galatians 4:4 – but back to our passage in John 11.
1 – Jesus demonstrates a unique timing – a surprising timing – a disturbing timing. Jesus appears to be in no hurry. Verses 5 to 7 – Jesus stayed where he was.
Did he get the message – should we send another messenger – if he got the message what is he up to? This is called prayer!
One of the most difficult things is to trust our life to his ways – and the delays can be tortuous at times. Does this mean he has stopped loving me?
Trust and timing do not always go together – we have to trust his timing – and usually he is moving too slowly, humanly speaking.
2 – Jesus offers a bigger life – verses 20 to 26 - a different type of life – a different quality of life. Jesus, if you had only worked on my need according to my timing.
Martha’s view was limited. Most of our views are limited.
Jesus rides down the Mount of Olives, and within a week Jesus is crucified and laid in a tomb.
Ephesians 3 verses 16,17 – Paul writes - I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
3 – Jesus reveals a heart that breaks – verses 33 to 36 - Jesus wept.
When Jesus saw others weeping, Jesus was deeply troubled. God becomes man and he cries. Jesus weeps over those who have a broken heart.
4 – Jesus displays a power that transforms – verses 39 to 44. In this case Jesus brings Lazarus back to life – Jesus prays – and Jesus prays for a reason – and when Jesus called, Lazarus came out.
We are not told what was going through the minds of the crowd – the minds of Martha and Mary – the minds of the disciples?
Martha – I know my timing is not your timing. Martha, do you still believe me?
5 – Jesus calls – verse 44 - Jesus calls them – Jesus invites the community to help.
Why does Jesus not do it himself? Why does Lazarus not do it himself?
Does Jesus want the community to touch this stinking mess?
Jesus wants to encourage the people around to participate.
Do not let our friend be limited and held captive by the wrappings and clothing of death – and fear – and defeat and guilt and shame. Let him live.
Jesus invites us to participate. We call it ministry.
Set people free from what is restricting and limiting and restraining.
“Our loving Father – teach us from this passage – show us the significance of Your timing – show us how You would have us co-operate with You – show us how we can be set free and teach us how we can help set free others – in Jesus Name. Amen.”
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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