Have you ever felt the sting of rejection? Maybe amidst intense suffering, someone you cared deeply for, didn’t “show up?” Instead of feeling cherished, you felt alone, rejected and unsure. Unbelief about Jesus’ character has a tendency to shatter our peace and devoid us of all power.
Therefore, we can only imagine the powerlessness Mary, Martha, and even Lazarus may have felt, as Lazarus falls ill and Jesus, the Good Shepherd, does not “show up.” The sister’s send word to Jesus that Lazarus has fallen ill, yet Jesus tarries. Hours turn into days, and their hearts sink as their brother slowly slips away and dies. Even mourners come with tears of condolence, but still…where is Jesus amidst their pain?
Four days lapse and still no Jesus. The mourners have perhaps gone onto someone else, yet the pain and powerlessness of rejection overwhelmed Mary and Martha. For them, not only was their brother now dead and buried but their friend, Jesus, had possibly even forgotten them. And much like wandering sheep, their ever-changing emotions begin to lead them astray.
What thoughts fill your mind when rejection rears its ugly head? Do you trust in the true character of the Good Shepherd or get bound up in the worry of unbelief? Is the Name of Jesus your strength or does unbelief rob you of His Power?
Finally, the sisters hear of Jesus coming. Each sister, confused by the fact that Jesus didn’t come in time to save Lazarus, responds in her own way. Each sister, in her own time responds to Jesus the same, “If you would’ve been here, my brother would not have died.”
It is because of our unbelief in who Jesus is, that He is deeply moved and He literally weeps for us. Yet the power of the resurrection of Lazarus reminds us that His Presence is our power, a gift in each moment. And as Jesus calls out to Lazarus to come out, we begin to experience true glory amidst our unbelief. God does something different with our feelings of rejection, creating a deeper trust that transcends ourselves; promoting His power instead of our passivity in moments of doubt.
As the newly resurrected Lazarus comes out of the tomb, Jesus tells them to “unbind him, and let him go.” Lazarus’ restored life begins to reveal a newly found confidence in the power of the Name. He tells so many about the experience that Jews are “going away and believing in Jesus.” In fact, Lazarus becomes a target to the Jews. Have our own bindings of unbelief kept us from experiencing the true power of the Name of Jesus?
If so, we must strengthen our hearts with the truth of who Jesus is in order to protect against attack. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, our friend, who lays down His life for us, provides for us, restores us, leads us, protects us, anoints us with oil, and cares so deeply for each one of us. Yet, how often do we forfeit our faith in our rejection by turning inward, instead of pursuing His Presence in order to glory in His Power? Our ever-changing emotions often ridding us of His all-surpassing power.
Yet Jesus never leaves our side and His purpose is never rejection, but instead to open our hearts to His greatest glory. His purpose in our lives is to provide abundance much like Lazarus experienced. So much that others cannot deny His presence because “on account of us… so many go away and believe in Him.” And isn’t this our heart’s longing, to draw others to the power of the Name of Jesus? Waiting within our rejection will never be easy, but as we press into our Good Shepherd we find the truth in His Name provides the power to persevere in faith.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for showing us that what we perceive as rejection or extreme waiting is just You preparing your people to experience your power. And as we experience Your Power, we are able to pour into others Your spirit of resurrection life. Let us die to ourselves amidst our rejection and find Your ultimate Presence and Power waiting for us when the bindings come off. In Jesus Name, Amen