There's a lot happening here, so let's get right into it. First off, you have the Lazarus story. Jesus knows Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary, though we do not have a clear picture of where the friendship started. We know that their home was in Bethany, which is not too far from Jerusalem.
The story is likely familiar to any of you who are churchgoers. Lazarus is sick, his sisters send word to Jesus, and Jesus hurries to keep doing what He was already doing. After waiting long enough for Lazarus to die from his illness, Jesus goes and raises Lazarus. Lazarus spent four days dead--long enough for no one to think he was only mostly dead--and then was brought back at the command of Jesus.
What do we do with this? First, notice that both sisters were fairly certain that Jesus was late. His disciples were pretty sure He was late.
But Jesus was not late. He knew what He was doing, more than anyone else could have figured. He did not intend to heal Lazarus' illness. Instead, He intended to show His power over death.
Which is something that sounds good, but then we try to apply that concept to our own lives. It may be that God intends to show His power in the life of someone who has suffered deeply rather than someone who never struggled. He may want to show how He works in a handicap instead of healing it...
You get the idea.
That's one of our major challenges. Typically, it's all well and good to see how God worked in Scripture, to see how He worked in history, how He worked in biography. We like that. We see God work in Eric Liddell's life, how he sacrificed wins and then life...but we sure do expect God to show up and reschedule our races and deliver us from our enemies.
That type of response denies the reality that God works in His own way and His own time. The nature of this world, this time, means that we may not always get it the way we want it.
From there, we see a few more steps toward Calvary, including the anointing of Jesus by Mary. Lazarus is there, the disciples are there, and the expense of her gift is debated. It's important to see Jesus statement that we will "always have the poor" appropriately. It does not mean we should not try to help the poor--only that there are times where we need to spend on worship and obedience in other categories.
This segment wraps with one of the stranger parts of the Palm Sunday/Triumphal Entry story. After seeing Jesus enter the city, the religious leaders decide to kill Him...and Lazarus, just because.
Don't expect the world to be friendly to you. Jesus is your life and salvation, but that may just put a target on your back.
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