The Sickness Not Unto Death
Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
(It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
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.
The situation concerning Lazarus’ sickness appeared hopeless to Martha and Mary, his sisters. They watched as their brother progressively slipped away from youthful healthiness.
This sickness, a picture of our corrupted nature, would have one result were it not for this blessed thought… “Jesus loved Martha, and her sister (Mary), and Lazarus” (John 11:5).
The disease that had ingrained itself into the body of Lazarus was but another illustration of what every man is by nature — sin!
As Lazarus’ sickness would soon claim his physical life, man’s spiritual disease has but one final conclusion — eternal death and separation for Almighty God.
The Lord Jesus said that Lazarus’ sickness was not unto death, but for the glory of God (John 11:4).
Christ’s love for Lazarus was a love from all eternity, and that love would be for God’s glory and Lazarus’ good.
The most glorious thought considered by a believer is that his (spiritual) sickness would not be unto (eternal) death, but for the glory of God. Redemption from eternal death and eternal glory to God is manifested only in one person — Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God. His substitution at Calvary with the imputed guilt of all God’s elect charged to Him, and his impeccable righteousness charged to those for whom he died, is good news to all he has loved eternally. It is appointed unto man once to die. Blessed is the man, who because of Christ has found his sickness not unto eternal death, but for the glory of God.
By Marvin Stalnaker