Posted by: Terry | June 26, 2011

Why did Christ let it happen?

When confronted with tragedy many have asked, as those the death of Lazarus asked, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" (John 11.37 NIV)

They knew that Jesus had healed so many, it was puzzling to them that he had not healed his friend. Did Jesus have limits on his power? What logic was there that he would allow suffering if he could fix it?

They connected that Jesus had done a great thing in healing the blind man, from that they struggled to understand all that implied. Did it mean he would heal all diseases, their experience made it clear that there were some who were not healed. Why?

Peter Chrysologus (a.400) wrote, “For Christ it was more important to conquer death than to cure disease.” The perspective of Christ is different than ours. We are more concerned with the present and all of its trouble, while Christ has an eternal perspective in mind. Christ came to conquer death not prevent death. He came to offer eternal life, not extension of life.

Death was never the desire of God, it is the result of rebellion against God, as such it is implicit in every human. We, even God, may prolong life, but because of sin death is inevitable. This is why Christ came, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16 NIV)

If God removed all of the pain and suffering of this world we would in fact live a far more comfortable life, yet most would still not have eternal life. Eternal life comes only from belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and most reject him. If the comfort of this life was all there was, if there was no hope for the future, what a tragedy that would be.

Christ could have healed his friend but he knew that he would conquer death not just prevent it. God’s glory and their faith were his priority.

Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it."  (John 11:4 NIV)

So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."
(John 11:14-15 NIV)

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