The Pain behind the Wait

Today’s Reading:  Ezekiel 31-33; John 11

“Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.””
‭‭John‬ ‭11‬:‭1‬-‭4‬, ‭6‬-‭7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Today’s reading passages comes from Ezekiel and the 11th Chapter of John,  one of the common links between these two passages is:  waiting.  Ezekiel shows us that there is a watchman that is waiting. The watchman is waiting for news or a change in the current predicament. The watchman has  been given a charge of telling when something is going to happen.

In John, I realize that there is a lot of waiting that is happening. From the previous times of reading this passage, I see the waiting of Mary and Martha, where they are waiting for Jesus to come to be with him doing their brother’s, Lazarus, death. While re-reading this I can see the waiting of Christ. When you breeze through the passage, you assume Jesus takes his time to get to Bethany, but he is purposefully waiting.

But when you really look at it from a new perspective, we can see how much the pain of knowing what’s going to happen affects Christ. Christ understood that he needed to wait for Lazarus to pass away and noted that God‘s glory could be shown in and through Christ. But Jesus was human and he felt all of our emotions. He knew that his friend was dying. He knew he had to wait. He knew that he had to allow that things to happen that he could have prevented. Let that sink in us. How much pain and strength do you have to go through and to know that what’s on the far end is going to be for God‘s goodness and glory.

As the watchman is waiting in anticipation of something that he doesn’t understand, but knows something is going to happen. The watchman has a duty to stay there in anticipation of what’s coming. The watchman has a duty of giving the news good or bad. The watchmen is in it for his mission.

“After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” ……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. But let us go to him.” ….Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” … Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” … Jesus wept.”
‭‭John‬ ‭11‬:‭11‬, ‭14‬-‭15‬, ‭21‬-‭23‬, ‭25‬-‭26‬, ‭35‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Christ knows what is going to happen. Christ has a bird’s eye view of what’s going to happen. But he is faithful to the fullness of God‘s glory. We acknowledge and see how painful it was for Christ when he comes to see his friend. One of the most powerful verses in the Bible, which is the shortest is here and John 11… Jesus wept. This is not just a weeping. This is a mournful cry, a deep agonizing cry, a visceral wail, and a mournful response. Jesus experienced the pain of waiting, and it was evident here.

This brings Jesus’ experiences as human into a different light for me. It shows me that Jesus experienced before the cross, very hard situations in which he had to allow things to happen in order for God‘s grace and mercy, and God’s glory to be revealed. It’s not stating that he didn’t have for remorse or pain, but to the contrary, he experience all of this, in light of being all powerful. Christ, love for us, extend so much that he would, and did take all the pain all the suffering, and he experienced it for us. When we are waiting for things to come, Jesus is there with us. Jesus has experienced the same pain of waiting that we have. And through his experience, he can comfort us. And in our experience when we get to the other side of the waiting we can comfort others as well. Let us be a blessing to others.

Be Blessed



Assurance : The acknowledgment or confirmation of anticipated items or events

The 12 chapter of John has several recurring themes: the theme of light and the theme of glory. In this chapter, this is the week before the crucifixion.  This is the last week of Jesus’ life.  These are the last actions of Christ earthly ministry before the resurrection.   

In the beginning of the chapter John recounts the gathering at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha.  At this particular gathering we given a setting tasty is very familiar throughout Christian theology and tradition: The preparation of Jesus’ death.  Mary uses  the perfume that is equal to a year’s salary.  Mary uses her hair to wipe the Jesus’s feet.  She is using all of her being to glorify and bring light to the dark times coming ahead.  This is a type of light and glory Mary is preparing Jesus body for his ultimate sacrifice and the glorification of his time earth.

While at Lazarus’ house, people are coming to see and experience the man that has been brought back to life.  This was one of the most profound miracles that Christ had performed.  Lazarus was not only dead, but he had been in the tomb for several days.  We have gotten accustomed to going to funerals and having the benefits of modern medicine to help assuage the true morbidity of death , but this was not the custom in the times of Jesus.  In the manner of hours the body begins to decompose and the natural process starts.  By the time Jesus got to the town of Lazarus, he was in full decomposition.  But now several weeks to months later, Jesus is eating with Lazarus and people want to come and see the miracle.   This is shows not only show that Jesus is capable of miracles, but he is Lord over life and death of others and God will do the same for him.  This this act is glorifying God‘s domain over life and death.

Each piece of the gospel is there for an intentional purpose,  here John mentions the group of Greeks. This is very poignant in this section because the Greeks deal with life, death, and gods in different ways. He uses examples of the wheat and how to death of the wheat to springing back to life for new plant to the Greeks. He also uses the other metaphors here with the Greeks of light and glorification. 

He uses light and glory several times in this chapter. He shows how light overcomes darkness how he is the light that overcomes the darkness of the enemy. He shows how the anticipation of his death and resurrection would normally receive as the final blow but he uses it as a catalyst to show the light and the glory of God.

One of the most profound portions in this entire chapter is the force of God. I’ve read this chapter many times in my lifetime but the most our inspiring section is when God the father acknowledges and glorifies the person of Christ in actual audible and meaningful terms. God completes his qualification and assures us that Christ is the one who is glorifying God and fulfilling the Scriptures.

John 12: 27- 30 

27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine.

There are not many times in the Old Testament or in the New testament in which God’s true voice is heard. In this verse God‘s force is not only audible but it is heard by the entire multitude. This gives us the assurance that God‘s plan and words are true. Many during this time in Christ life, many did not believe that God‘s word and actions were true. Many today do not believe that God‘s words and actions are true. But this brief, yet powerful moment gives us assurance, that undeniable realization that all things are working in God‘s favor.

I know that in today’s society it is hard to grasp that God plan is still valid. A year ago so many things in my life changed. My family members were passing away at young ages. My son was diagnosed with different things. And close friends we’re passing away day by day.  In the current situation there are thousands of people passing away daily. In these times it can seem as if we are in a mess of darkness. But we have to understand that God‘s light and glory will be shown and glorified, if we believe in Him. 

May God reveal Himself to us as he did to the multitude and give us Assurance: Allow us to hear him in thunder of the storm or in the whisper on a breeze.

Lazarus ” אלעזר” “God has helped”

Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John record many miracles that were performed by Jesus. These gospels have just a small fraction of what and who Jesus healed and touched before his earthly death.  Still today, we can hear, see, and feel Jesus’s hand in our miracles and the miracles of others.  Today, we get to read about life after death for Lazarus in John 11:1-45. One of his last earthly miracles that really sent the religious leaders into a panic demanding Jesus’s death.

But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4 

Reading through this miracle of bringing someone back to life after four days is unbelievable.  It is only God possible. He had brought a couple of others back to life, but not after four days! This story also leaves me with some gut-check questions as I read through the scriptures.  Think about these questions with me.

  1. Who do you go to when you need extraordinary help? Do you rely on your personal strength or strength of man or? Do you rely upon  Jesus?              (Further Reading Psalm 3)
  2. How do we respond to adversity? Is it a grumble, complain, or blame? Or do we glorify His name in everything? ( But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

( 2 Corinthians  1:4 )  5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too

3. Are you walking in the dark or light? What do your choices look like? Are we trusting in His timing? 

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

4. Lazarus was dead to the physical world. The first word Lazarus heard was Jesus telling him to, “come forth”. When we physically die,  will the first person we hear be Jesus? Will you “come forth?”

Dear Heavenly Father thank you for the stories of your love, grace, and truth.  Help us to walk in the light, trust you in the face of adversity,   This heart-breaking story was all part of your plan. We love you and just ask for you to keep us in your light.  In your name, we pray. Amen



Oh, That Sweet Smell

Today Reading: Mark 14

This is Lynden this week. I am blessed to have a great wife that was able to post for me last week while I was ill. I am truly blessed and fortunate. Today, I have the privilege to dive into Mark 14. Upon first reading this chapter, I felt overwhelmed and awed. In these verses Mark has given us the snapshot of the days before the crucifixion and Passover. I have prayed about what to reflect on this week and I chose: the preparation of the body for burial.

Mark14: 3- 7

 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,[a] as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.  There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that?  For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii[b] and given to the poor.” And they scolded her.  But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.  For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.  And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

As I have researched this passage this week many things are coming more in-focus for me.

  • The place that Jesus has come is the home of Simon the Leper. During the week before he is to be sacrificed and put to death he is eating at a home of a person who is on the fringes or margins of society, a person with Leprosy. This is a “unclean” person and outside of the proper lines of the Jewish society, as sen in last week’s post.  He is willing to be doing His Father’s work until the last moment.
  • Simon was also a friend of Jesus. He was a close friend, this Simon was also known as Lazarus of Bethany. The same Lazarus that was raised from the dead. In John 12:2-3, the same scene is witnessed where Jesus and the Twelve are at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Some have thought his name is Simon Lazarus, similar to John Mark, whose gospel we are reading.   Mary is the woman whom poured the oil on Jesus. Is it interesting that the place that Jesus is prepared for his burial is at the home of the one he resurrected?
  • The main point that I was focused on ordeal with the perfume. Many people were arguing about the price of the perfume and what the proceeds could buy the poor and needy. But to look at this as from the point of view of Mary is one to sit in awe. This man, Jesus, has been with this family for a large portion of their life. This man love the family and the siblings.  This man has brought back their brother from a 4-day death.  This is the family in which “Jesus wept”. This is the family in which so much has happened to and happened with. This is the equivalent to their brother. Mary has been there with him and has witnessed many things and this is her manner to bless him before the end.   The amount of money that was used to purchase this oil would be about $30,000 to $50,000 in today’s economy, approximately one year’s wages.  This was a major sacrifice.

Ok so the stage is set and we know the outcome: death, burial, and resurrection. But take a moment and imagine: The supper at Bethany, the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, The trial, The flogging and beatings, The crucifixion, The burial, and The resurrection; in all of these stations this aroma is filling the air, the person, the being of Christ. It is truly anointing him.

I can only image the moment when Mary, his mother, held him in her arms that last time off of the cross and could smell this oil on him.

I think of my children and the smell of the newborn, something that is only there for a short time, but can bring back memories as if it was yesterday. Oh, that sweet smell.

Now, the question and prayer I have for you is: Would a year’s worth of your salary be enough to anoint Christ and who would see the effects? Would you make that sacrifice?

Dear Heavenly Father, allow us to be unselfish and generous with our possessions to glorify you now as Mary of Bethany did for you before you were glorified. Amen


Melting pot people walking on zebra crossing and traffic jam on 7th avenue in Manhattan before sunset - Crowded streets of New York City during rush hour in urban business area


Today’s Readings: Exodus 32, John 11, Proverbs 8, Ephesians 1

As I sit down to write tonight I’m filled with joy and contentment. I’m 35 today. I slept in just a little, had some favorite foods, received gifts from my husband and children, went to church and then celebrated with my small group. As I reflect on the day, the thing that sticks with me is my Facebook feed. Ordinarily, I would have lots to say about the false idol that is Facebook but today I feel differently. Today, 122 people took the time to call me by name. One hundred and twenty two people wrote genuine, kind, heartfelt messages to me. Throughout the day I read and re-read my bible passages for the journal and in between I would read some of the new Facebook messages coming in. I realized tonight that what is most significant about these messages is that each of those people called me by name.

In John 11 we learn that Jesus’ good friend Lazarus is very ill. John is careful to tell us that Jesus stayed for 2 extra days despite the mounting risk he faces for his preaching in Judea. Mary and Martha are rather desperate. They tell Jesus that “he whom you love” is ill. Jesus replies by saying:

 “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4

This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God. Hello. Hello. I’ve been transporting myself to this moment in time all week. What Jesus says here is so important. I’ve challenged myself to write down at least two things each day that I believe is an “illness” in my life. An illness that I may feel is for the purpose of my own suffering. An illness that I believe is for the purpose of an end or a death. Then I ask myself, “how is this circumstance or situation for the glory of God.” Guess what…there’s been an answer every time. If I am silent and wait, I get the answer.

What happens next is the real meat and potatoes of the story. After learning that Lazarus has been dead for four days, Jesus goes to the tomb and calls him by name. He says,

“Lazarus come out” John 11:43

The irony here of course is that as Jesus gives life through the act of giving up his own. In fact, by performing this miracle the plot to kill Jesus is set in motion by his enemies. Jesus knows that the time is drawing near. He hastened his own death by calling his beloved Lazarus by name. Is he calling me today? As Easter approaches am I present in this Lazarus moment, am I listening for the sound of my very own name?

Later in today’s readings Paul writes to the Ephesians,

“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11-14

 There it is! The post-resurrection testimony from Paul about the true inheritance we have as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice. He tells us right here in this scripture that we are his chosen ones, he has named us on the biggest Facebook wall of all time. We have been predestined for his love and will inherit our forever with him. Here is the promise that each and every one of us is special, is unique, is intimately known by Him. By his action we are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Paul goes on to write to the Ephesians,

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.” Ephesians 1:16-18


Bring our hearts close to yours this week. Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of you. Don’t let the spirit of eggs and chocolate and rabbits distract us from your voice calling us by name. Give us hope in the daily situations that we feel are insurmountable earthly illnesses. Draw me close to you, Lord. I know the time is near. Help me to stop, listen and respond. We thank you Lord for building our community of other Christ followers, for giving us strength to live in our modern Judea’s while praising you. Thank you for calling us each by name.