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With a friend like this…?

Great story this week! Lazarus gets raised from the dead. On second thoughts, what was it like for him and his sisters, going through all that trauma “for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it”? This story might leave Jesus looking rather callous. What sort of friend drags his feet once he knows his friend is dying, delaying his arrival on the scene to make sure the illness has had time to run its course and leave its victim properly dead, so that the subsequent miracle will be more spectacular?
Once you put it in those terms, finding an satisfactory answer to such a reproach might all depend on just how important you think it is that the early church be given a demonstration of Jesus’ power over death, which Paul called the final enemy. If this thing had to be done, maybe only your very best friends could be trusted to come through such an ordeal with their faith and love for you intact. Why else would John emphasize how close Jesus was to them, and how deeply effected he was by their pain? This was no unfeeling demonstration of divine power, but rather showed how deeply God cares for us all, and what it cost to bring us all out of death’s horrible regime.
You can hear more about my reading of this story here…
Howard Pilgrim

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