Man's Plans: God's Plans


So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.
(John 11:6 NASB)
Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”
(John 11:7 NASB)
The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?”
(John 11:8 NASB)
Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.”
(John 11:16 NASB)
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all,
(John 11:49 NASB)
nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.”
(John 11:50 NASB)



This story of Lazarus is one which I have read and heard many times throughout my life. I've always been fascinated by the fact that Jesus knew that Lazarus was dying and yet he waited until he was dead to come and see the family. In some ways it has disturbed me because Mary and Martha (as well as Lazarus) go through a period of suffering which Jesus could have alleviated. The story does give incredible glory to God and reveals his power to raise from the dead and I've always assumed this was the full reason for the delay. However, today something different struck me and that was that the disciples who were with Jesus never had any intention of going there because they were afraid of being killed. The human plans of the disciples meant that they were seeking safety, not that they had a plan to glorify God in the resurrection of Lazarus.

Later in the chapter we find the religious leaders plotting the death of Jesus. They are concerned about his popularity and that they will lose their positions of power because of him. Wanting to keep everything at the status-quo they decide it's better to get him out of the picture to maintain stability than to allow everything to change should he become to powerful and popular. That's why the High Priest says that it's better for one man to die for the sake of the whole nation. The human plan -- let's get him out of the way by putting him to death. God's plan -- let's have him put to death to save the whole nation!



In the midst of our life circumstances we may not see the hand of God at work. We, ourselves, may be guilty of trying to manipulate situations into what we think or believe might be God's plan. When we do that we don't get the full picture of what God wants to accomplish. If anything we see so very little! The disciples thought that saving Jesus' and their own lives was certainly a worthy cause. Jesus wasn't about just saving his own neck, but about revealing the power and the glory of God to the world. Raising Lazarus from the dead was a part of God's plan with a foreshadowing of what Christ would soon do for them all! Sometimes we think that something within the Church, or within our own lives needs to be "saved" when in reality God wants to use that situation as part of his bold plan for the redemption of humanity. We just don't see it -- we don't get it.

Jesus "got it" because he and the Father were one, and the Father's will was Jesus' will and therefore God's redemptive plan for humanity became Jesus' passion. The only way that we can truly function and exist in peace in this world is to get to know the mind of Christ. If we are trying desperately to figure things out on our own we will mess things up! Also, we will live in fear. The disciples were afraid that Jesus would be killed (and they along with him). Jesus lived and moved in confidence that he was in the center of the Father's will. The circumstances of life may throw us for a loop sometimes but we must stay so connected to God and so in the center of his understanding that we can trust in him. It is not our responsibility to try and figure things out, our only responsibility is to get to know Christ. When we remain in a deeply intimate relationship with him, he will lead us and guide us into knowing him in a deeper way each and every single day. Then, we will become at peace in God's plan, not trying to manipulate Man's plan.



Lord, please help me to relax and trust in you this day and may you be glorified. Amen.


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