Don’t Lose Peace While Waiting for Answered Prayer – Part II

Mary, Lazarus, Martha, belief, promises, answered prayer

Photo Credit: Foundry (CC)

If you haven’t read part I of this post, you can read it here:

Summarizing from last week, Jesus arrives at Bethany after Lazarus is dead for four days. Martha meets him while her sister, Mary, remains in the house.

I’ve always wondered why Mary, who loved Jesus, didn’t go with Martha. Mary who sat at Jesus’s feet.

Perhaps Mary was offended, or hurt, or disappointed at Jesus– maybe she felt all of those emotions–so she didn’t feel like seeing him. Whatever reason, she preferred to remain in the house with mourners than to see Jesus.

How many of us have done the same when God didn’t seem to answer our prayers? We’d prefer to mourn in self-pity than to bask in Jesus’s presence.

That’s the deception of self-pity — it seems like it’s your friend, but really it’s your enemy. It prefers to bask in what’s dead: your unfulfilled dreams, your past mistakes, your losses. After all, do you know where it’s most comfortable? In the grave.

“When the Jews who were sitting with her in the house and consoling her saw how hastily Mary had arisen and gone out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to pour out her grief there.”(John 11:31 AMP)

Thank goodness, Mary goes to Jesus. “When Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she dropped down at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ ” (verse 32b)

Mary expresses her feelings to her friend just like Martha did. Yet, John doesn’t tell us if Jesus responded to her like he did with Martha. Instead John shares how grieved Jesus is over the spirit of unbelief working the crowd:

Imagine this scene: Jesus is in the village gate surrounded by the disciples, Mary, Martha, and their friends. Doubters are giving their three-point sermon why Jesus didn’t come to heal Lazarus. Some in the crowd are probably hurling insults about (and even some to) Jesus, while spies are watching and listening intently. Some in the crowd are still crying as they mourn Lazarus’s death. It’s loud, confusing, and hostile.

So, this helps to understand why Jesus was grieved in his spirit: When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her [also] sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. [He chafed in spirit and sighed and was disturbed.]” (verse 33)

I don’t think Jesus was grieving over Lazarus’s death, but rather the crowd’s unbelief.

“But some of them said, ‘Could not He Who opened a blind man’s eyes have prevented this man from dying?’ ” (verse 37)

They’re questioning Jesus’s healing authority– he could sense them spreading doubt and unbelief among the crowd.

For he knows he’s called to demonstrate the resurrection power of God. After all, this act of raising Lazarus from the dead foreshadows Jesus’s own resurrection. For their own salvation weighs in the balance.

But Jesus just presses past their doubt and commands the stone to be rolled away:

Of all people to question him is Martha:

Martha, the sister of the dead man, exclaimed, But Lord, by this time he [is decaying and] throws off an offensive odor, for he has been dead four days!” (verse 39).

Jesus’s response? He returns her back to his word. “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?’ ” (verse 40)

A few obeyed Jesus and rolled the stone away. Can you imagine what was going through their minds?

“Does he want to see his body?” “Boy this is going to smell.” “I’m obeying only because I’m curious what he’s going to do next.” 

Then Jesus commands Lazarus to come forth.

“He shouted with a loud voice, Lazarus, come out!” (verse 43)

Can you hear and see Jesus shouting to your promise: “Come forth!”

“And out walked the man who had been dead, his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] napkin bound around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go.’ “

Your dream, your prayers, your promises might seem dead and buried, but Jesus can call it forth from the dead.

The fruit of your believing in the glory of God? Salvation.

“Upon seeing what Jesus had done, many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Him. [They trusted in Him and adhered to Him and relied on Him.]” (verse 45)

“Because on account of him many of the Jews were going away [were withdrawing from and leaving the Judeans] and believing in and adhering to Jesus.” (John 12:11)

It’s vital to realize that standing for your promises and answered prayer, doesn’t just benefit you, but those around you. People need to see the glory of God. So, don’t give up believing in what God has promised. For God can raise your dreams from the dead.

What have you learned when it seemed your promises were dead? Please share in Comments below. Thank you.

*All Scripture translations are from the Amplified Bible

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Friend of God. Writer. Resting in His grace daily.