Because He Loves Us
Lazarus was sick. But instead of going to see him in Bethany, Jesus intentionally waited two more days. Then He arrived in Bethany a full four days after Lazarus had died.
Sometimes it might seem as though Jesus is completely indifferent to our troubles. He might not do what we’re expecting Him to do.
As Martha and Mary were waiting for Jesus to heal their brother Lazarus, maybe they thought, “He’s going to let us down. Maybe prayer doesn’t work.”
But John 11:5 tells us, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” Jesus delayed His arrival, yet we read that He loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
In the original language, the word for loved is the Greek word agape. It speaks of a sacrificial, agonizing love that loves a person in spite of his or her lovability.
It’s the same word used in John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus died for every person. God loves us in spite of ourselves, in spite of our lovability.
Interestingly, when Martha and Mary sent word that Lazarus was sick, they said, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick” (John 11:3). The word they used for love is the Greek word phileo, from which we get our English word Philadelphia. It speaks of “brotherly love,” the love that a friend has for a friend.
Martha and Mary were thinking only of friendship, but Jesus was thinking of sacrificial love. They were thinking only of their temporal comfort, but Jesus was thinking of their eternal benefit. They wanted a healing; He wanted a resurrection. He wanted to do above and beyond that which they could ask or think.