Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Jn 11:1-4
“This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
And he dies.
The illness does not lead to death. No, it does not. The man dies, but he does not perish, if one is allowed to make the distinction. Rather this illness is for the glory of God.
Wrap your head around that for a moment. Here is the theology of the cross speaking. Here is the God who is made perfect in weakness. He is glorified by the illness of a man. God uses all things for good for those who love him. Yes, being sick is one of those things he can use for this. God’s glory shines where you least expect it. Even in our own death God is glorified, because though we die, we do not perish.
The Son of God is glorified through it. This is more than that Jesus gets to perform another miracle for everyone to ooh and awe over. The death of Lazarus is an opportunity for Jesus to proclaim his judgment over death. It is a foreshadowing for each and every one of us who have died in the Lord that we might live in his resurrection. We have died in his death, now we live in his resurrection. Whatever illness we face, it does not lead to death but to life in and with Christ for eternity, because on the last day, he will stand at our grave and call us out of the darkness of the tomb and there, even in our own death, Jesus will be glorified.