#732: Raised for Him



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Reflections by the Pond
November 2, 2015

But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it."

John 11:4

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Between our innate bent and the bent of the world in which we live, every human comes into this world thinking he or she has to be the center of attention. We come from the womb thinking our planetary system revolves not around the sun, but around us. As every wailing infant reminds us, every one of us is born demanding attention—and demanding it now.

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Martha and Mary could not understand why their good friend, Jesus, was not immediately racing to their aid. Their brother Lazarus was dying, and they knew with certainty that the one they acknowledged to be "the Christ, the Son of God," could prevent his death. So when Jesus only arrived four days after his friend had died, we can hear not just disappointment, but pique, in Martha's voice.

Martha then said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."

John 11:21

But Jesus was there for reasons that were far higher than the healing of a friend. His first reason was to give glory to God.

But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it."

John 11:4

The astute reader, familiar with the story, will quickly rejoin, "But Lazarus did die." True, and that leads to Jesus' second reason for attending after the fact.

Jesus said to [Martha], "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die."

John 11:23-26

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How very small are our earthly minds; how little we see of the grand vista set before us. Even acknowledging the lordship of Christ, and His equality with Father God, we still think it is all about us. Physical death? Cessation of breathing and the pulsing of the heart? The grave? These are nothing. The first death is nothing. This flesh we inhabit is but a temporary tent in which to house our true self—our eternal self.

The first portal to that eternity is the grave: We must die to this world before we can live in the next. The second portal to our eternity is our resurrection—but that raising from the grave is only to Christ if we are in Christ.

"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies—"

Jesus is the resurrection, and Jesus is the life. But life with Christ follows resurrection only if one is in Christ by faith prior to the grave. If one is not, there follows a second and just as eternal death—without Christ. But there is no second death for those who have believed.

"—and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die."

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None of this, ultimately, takes place for us. Certainly we obtain a benefit: the difference between heaven and hell, between light and darkness, between unsullied bliss and non-consuming inferno. But the foremost reason it takes place—the first and preeminent reason—is to bring glory to God and His Son.

We must develop the habit of looking beyond ourselves. Discomforts, even agonizing misery or loss, will come, and what God decides to do about it on our behalf has more to do with His glorification than our release from pain. We are not the center of the universe. He is.

Indeed, our very existence is for His glory.