This part 1 of a three part series.
Dear fellow disciple-maker,
Friend is a significant word in the Bible because there are only three individuals in the entire Old Testament who are called God's friend. Those three are Abraham, Job and Moses. Obviously, it signified a special relationship. So it's interesting to note that in the final chapters of John's Gospel, Jesus stops calling the disciples his servants, and begins calling them his friends.
The eleventh chapter of John is about three of Jesus' closest followers: Mary, Martha and Lazarus. In John 11:11, Jesus refers to Lazarus as "our friend." Lazarus became ill and eventually died. Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus but he didn't come. Initially they did not understand why Jesus didn't come sooner. In the end, Jesus knew all along what he would do. John 11 teaches us that Jesus is our friend. And when Jesus is your friend, he always arrives on time.
He's Never too Late
When Jesus is your friend he is never too late. Upon learning of Lazarus' condition, Jesus did not immediately respond. Mary and Martha were surprised that he took so long. They both said, "Lord, if you had only been here, our brother would not have died." In other words, now it's too late.
These women were forgetting what all of us tend to forget: God's Divine Providence. To Jesus, Lazarus' illness was more than an illness. It was providential. Even though Mary and Martha didn't understand what was happening, Jesus wasn't in a hurry because he knew that through Lazarus' illness many people would see the power of God and believe in Him.
Someone Else's Universe
This story reminds us that we are living our lives' in someone else's universe. And specifically, it reminds us that the same God who was behind Lazarus' illness, is behind what’s happening in your life too. Alan Redpath, the renowned British Evangelist wrote:
"There is no circumstance, no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me, until first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment."
Over time, we realize that providentially mixed in with God's Friendship, is His Lordship. A.M. Overton wrote a poem entitled, "He Maketh No Mistake." Whenever I read it my heart is encouraged.
My Father's way may twist and turn, my heart may throb and ache; But in my soul I'm glad to know He maketh no mistake.
My cherished plans may go astray, my hopes may fade away; But still I'll trust my Lord to lead, for He doth know the way.
Tho' night be dark and it may seem that day will never break; I'll pin my faith, my all in Him, He maketh no mistake.
There's so much now I cannot see, My eyesight's far too dim; But come what may, I'll simply trust and leave it all to Him.
For by and by the mist will lift and plain it all He'll make; Through all the way, tho’ dark to me, He made not one mistake.
When Jesus is your friend, he always knows what he’s doing and He's never too late. We all need a friend like that.
Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
Permission to reprint this page in its totality is granted.
For any reuse or distribution of When Jesus is Your Friend or any of our Free Bible Study Materials, author credit and web address is required.
Please email us with questions or comments.