As a group of six women with babies approached Matthew he glanced back at Jesus.
Jesus was smiling at a man holding his mat. “Go. Your faith has made you well.” He looked past Matthew and smiled at the women.
Matthew stepped aside and escorted the ladies to the Rabbi. Jesus held each of the infants and tossled the hair of a toddler who hugged His leg.
Matthew recognized two Judean men as friends of Martha and Mary.
One of them grabbed Matthew’s arm. “We must see Jesus immediately. Lazarus is in grave condition.”
Matthew turned and pushed the last woman aside.
Jesus pulled her close and whispered in her ear. “Go, and sin no more.”
Matthew stared in Jesus’ eyes. “Rabbi…”
One of the men pushed past Matthew. “He whom You love is sick.”
Jesus placed his hand on the man’s shoulder. “This sickness won’t end in death. Tell the ladies we’ll be there for them. The Son of God will be glorified through this.”
The man nodded, then looked at his friend before the two of them left.
Jesus turned to a man being led to him next to another man. “What do you wish for Me to do?”
The blind man leaned forward. “Son of David, I want to see.”
Jesus stooped in front of him and looked in his eyes. “Your faith has made you well.”
The man blinked repeatedly at Jesus. Looked at his friend, then at everyone in the crowd before letting out a cry. “I can see everything.”
He hugged Jesus. “Thank You Jesus.”
“You are most welcome.”
Two days later Jesus gathered His disciples together after breakfast. “It’s time to return to Judea.”
Bartholomew spit out his last bite of food. “But, the last time we were there they tried to stone You. Are You sure about this?”
Jesus smiled. “As long as a person walks in the light of day he won’t stumble. When you attempt to walk at night then you’ll fall because the light is gone.” His men stared at Him. “I must go wake Lazarus up.”
Judas stood. “But, if he sleeps he’ll get better.”
Jesus looked at each man. “Lazarus is dead. It’s good that I wasn’t there so you’ll believe.” He stood. “Let’s go.”
Thomas stood after Jesus walked away. “Let’s go so we can die with Him, too.”
The twelve men waded across the Jordan River behind Jesus.
Knowing how this familiar story ends removes too much of the impact of this part of it. Most people gloss over this to get to the good part. We aren’t going to do that this time.
Jesus led His men to the east side of the Jordan River to escape the clutches of the religious establishment for a time. His time had yet to come for further work in Jerusalem. The disciples thought He must be running for His life. He was merely waiting for the right time to return.
There are three characters in this narrative I find intriguing.
- Martha and Mary’s messengers must have thought they heard Jesus wrong after they returned to Bethany and found Lazarus in the tomb. Why did He insist this wouldn’t end in death? What type of death was He talking about this time?
- The disciples felt some sense of security away from Jerusalem. The crowds were on their side here. Jesus was at His peak healing and teaching them. How much faith did it take for them to follow Jesus back to His almost certain death?
- Thomas stands up and declares his allegiance to Jesus in such a profound way. I don’t think he understood all the implications of his statement here. Did he believe death must be a part of the kingdom Jesus would establish?
[Tweet “Life is not about the destination but the journey. That’s where the lessons are taught”]
Are you in a similar place in your walk with Jesus?
Is the road ahead confusing you?
Does the next step require all the faith you have?
Life is not about the destination but the journey. That’s where the lessons are taught.
Faith is not faith if you know the outcome. Believe in Jesus in spite of your doubts.
Trust is not trust if you have control of the situation. Rely on God’s sovereignty.
Hope is not hope if the final result is easy. Continue to move in the direction God has you on.
Death is a major part of God’s kingdom. You must die to your own desires now to fulfill God’s plans for your future in His kingdom.
If you pursue the wealth and fame this world has to offer you’ll discover more frustration than God seems to hold. Your kingdom on this earth will be so elusive and short-lived that you’ll run out of life before you’re there.
Temporary success and pleasure will dull you to reality before you know it.
Satan gives you his best things first. God saves His best for last.
You must decide which path you want to travel.
The popular road will lead to destruction. The kingdom road will lead to eternal peace and joy.
No matter how bleak things appear now the outcome is assured. Jesus will ride in on a white horse to save the day and establish His kingdom once and for all. God wrote that in the Bible long before any fiction writer used that theme for their story.
Each struggle you work through has a purpose.
Each pain you bear holds a God-given plan.
Every instance of doubt you work through brings you closer to a divine destiny.
Cling to the Father for strength. Trust the Son for your hope. Rely on the Holy Spirit for direction.
The lessons learned in your journey through life are equipping you for your role in God’s kingdom.
Don’t despair the tests, ask for more.
Don’t despise the pain, expect more.
Don’t avoid the sacrifices, embrace them.
Your eternal destiny is being wrought in this furnace of your life.
Those who persevere will come out shining brighter than pure gold.
I’ll see you later. Wade