Living and dying to the glory of God


“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. … Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” John 11:1,3-5 (Read John 10:1-7)

Lazarus from Bethany (just outside of Jerusalem), the brother of Mary and Martha, was very sick, and his sisters sent word to Jesus to seek His help and aid. The Scriptures clearly tell us of Jesus’ love for Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. Yet, when Jesus received word that Lazarus was sick, He remained in the place where He was for two more days before traveling to Bethany to aid His friend.

Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” God had a reason for allowing Lazarus to be sick. It was that Jesus would be glorified by raising Lazarus from the dead, providing further witness to the fact that Jesus was and is the Son of God in human flesh who came into this world to atone for our sins and give us new life in communion with God through faith in Him.

And Jesus promised to raise up the dead and give eternal life to all who believe in Him. His raising of Lazarus from the grave after being dead for four days is certainly evidence that He is able to raise us up from the grave on the Last Day, as He promised, and give eternal life to all who have trusted in Him. Thus, Lazarus’ death was for the glory of Jesus, the Son of God and the Savior of lost mankind.

This raises important questions for us to consider. What if we or a loved one becomes seriously ill and faces death, and our prayers for healing and recovery seem to go unanswered? If God delays or even allows death to come, has he failed to answer our prayers? Not at all. He has a reason, often unknown to us, but for our good and for His glory.

We trust “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). If God wills that our lives in this world end, that is better for us and our loved ones than continuing to live on in this world, even though we are unable to see and understand His divine reasoning now.

And when we do become ill, face death, or even die, do we bring glory to God through it? Do we accept God’s will and die in the faith that Jesus paid in full for our sins when He died on the cross as our atoning sacrifice? Do we die with the assurance that, through faith in Jesus, we are pardoned and forgiven and will not be condemned in the final judgment? Do we die in the confidence that Jesus, who raised Lazarus from the dead and who Himself rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion, will also raise us up as He has promised and give unto us and all believers eternal life with Him in His kingdom?

Let your life and your death be to the glory of Christ Jesus by trusting in Him and His cross for pardon, forgiveness, and the eternal joys of heaven!

O precious Jesus, our resurrection and our life, grant that we trust You in all things and glorify Your name while we live and when we die. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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