When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32
Mary and Martha, the sisters of one of Jesus’ friends, Lazarus, sent word to Jesus that their brother was sick. In their appeal they reminded Jesus of the relationship He held with their brother. “Lord, the one you love is sick.” They were sure not to miss that, figuring that would hasten Jesus to his bedside. All they could think about was, “Jesus can fix this.”
Upon hearing the news, Jesus intentionally delayed His going back there for two days. There were some lessons to be learned by His disciples. They needed to know that God does not panic like we do. They needed to know that Jesus was in control of the situation. “This sickness will not end in death”, He tells them.
Now, you and I have read the story and we know that Lazarus did die. As a matter of fact, he was graveyard dead and already buried. When Jesus and His disciples got there he had been in the tomb four days.
It seems like a contradiction. Jesus says it would not end in death and for a fact Lazarus had died, been in the tomb four days and all hope was gone with the family.
Jesus never said Lazarus would not die… nor does He say you won’t. He said, “This sickness will not END in death.”
When He arrived the sisters quickly accused Him. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus was not shaken because God does not have to live on “What if” the way we do. He knew who He was and what He could do.
Jesus went to the graveyard and called his name. “Lazarus, come forth.” Immediately death was overcome and Lazarus lived to die again.
God is not a God of “What if”. He is a God of promise and He promises us that we will live again. Death may knock us over but He will raise us up. Martha believed in a resurrection on the last day. She was confident of that but could not see through her present grief.
We are not some temporary toy with which God chooses to play a while and then discard us. We are permanent fixtures with Him. He wants us back and will raise us up. He has plans for us that are “out of this world”.
So, the next time you face this moment with a friend or family member, know with confidence that whatever you see and experience that this thing will not END in death. Death WILL happen, but it does not END there.