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Jesus Desires Everyone

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:9

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” - 1 Timothy 2:3


Dear Friends,

I like plans. And post-its. And lists. And goals. And having someone hold me accountable so I stick to my goals. But when I get stuck in my selfish ambitions (as I suspect a lot of us do), I often lose focus on the primary task that Jesus assigned us: to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything he commanded to us (Matthew 28:19-20). Unfortunately, we so easily replace the commands “love the Lord your God” and “love your neighbor” with “I need a ‘treat myself’ day”, as if God hasn’t provided for us everything we need already.

We can very easily narrow our thinking and fall into the belief that “Jesus saved me” instead of “Jesus saved all of us”. As humans, our perspective of things is so much smaller than God’s. He can see the whole picture when we can only see a very small part of it. As hard as it may be, when we try to look at things through God’s eyes instead of our own, we can start to understand his amazing sovereignty, compassion, and love as well as the miracles he’s working in our hearts and the hearts of our brothers and sisters.

Hopefully you’ve read the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11: 1-44. It’s my second favorite story in the Bible, second only to when Peter walks on water, but that’s for another day! If you’ve never read it, or if it’s been quite a while, take the time to read it before we dive in here.

The gist of the story is that Jesus was sent by two women to come and help their sick brother, Lazarus. However, before Jesus got to him, Lazarus died. Jesus still went to him despite it being seemingly too late because logically once death happened, that was it. Or, that’s at least what the people thought. But by his words alone, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and in doing so revealed the glory and true power of God.

God’s power was not only displayed in the moment Lazarus was raised, but all through the entire chapter of John 11. Though the main outcome of the story is that Lazarus was raised from the dead, most of the text focuses not on him, but on those around him who were brought together by this event. It’s interesting to notice that Lazarus doesn’t even say anything in this passage of scripture, but instead the dialogue is completely between everyone else and Jesus. I believe John wrote the book this way to demonstrate that the point of the story is not only the raising of Lazarus, but also that something deeper is going on that God wants us to see. Jesus is not only concerned about Lazarus, but with Mary, Martha, the disciples, the Jews, and ultimately with us. This story is a great example of Jesus bringing together all of these people to witness his sovereignty, compassion, and love.

Not surprisingly, God is fantastic at multitasking; and he demonstrates that perfectly by not only raising Lazarus, but also by changing the lives of all who witnessed the miracle and even those who are still reading about it today. Jesus attracts all people to himself through his miracles as shown in this passage. Throughout the Bible, Jesus’ miracles challenge all who witness them to change their previous mindset, grow in their faith, and behold God’s glory.

Jesus Desires Mary and Martha

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met two sisters that have identical personalities. In fact, most sisters are usually opposite. Even my sister and I, who grew up in the same household, turned out to be very different from each other. Her favorite Disney princesses were Ariel and Jasmine while mine were Mulan and Pocahontas (If you can’t see the differences in princesses, you need to re-watch them all!). She liked more girly things growing up, and I was a sporty, tomboy. She was into reading and writing while I liked the outdoors and watching shows on Animal Planet.

The same was the case in John 11 for the two sisters, Mary and Martha. It’s good to differentiate between them both, because even though they seem to have had a similar role in the story, they both brought different personalities that are very relatable to us today. Regardless of their differences, Jesus demonstrated his empathy and compassion for their different personalities in this story and empathized with their desperation for their brother’s life.

Through Mary and Martha, we can see many aspects of ourselves when we’re faced with trials. By placing ourselves in their shoes, we can view things from a new perspective and not view Mary and Martha simply as characters, but rather women we can all relate too. They were real people that were alive on this earth, felt emotions, cried, desperate, and broken. Jesus desired them. Jesus desires you.

Martha Desires Jesus

Comparing the two sisters, we all can relate to Martha. She tends to favor logical thinking, and although it may be partly because of some doubt or misunderstanding in her heart. I believe, it’s because she was in a growing season in her life. Are we not all growing in one way or another? Wasn’t she also dealing with her brother’s death and the devastating weight that comes with sorrow? Though many downplayed Martha, Jesus saw her and most importantly, saw her faith.

As she mourned the loss of her brother, she seemed to approach things more logically than her sister, Mary. Martha was the one who first heard that Jesus was coming, and instead of waiting to be called, she ran to meet Jesus. She had a full conversation with him asking questions and for understanding. Martha was desperate for Jesus. She demonstrated her great faith in that, even though she sent for Jesus, and he didn’t come at the time she appointed, she still believed that Lazarus would rise again, even if it would be during the resurrection at the last day. The pain she felt, maybe even mixed in with some bitterness and doubt, didn’t dim the truth that Jesus is the Son of God. She believed Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus saw her faith and he sees ours.

“‘Lord’, Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’”

John 11:21-25

There are some of us, especially me, who ask Jesus questions because we want answers. Duh. But there are times when we can be afraid to ask in fear of being reprimanded. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t punish us for asking, but instead answers us. Martha, again using her logical way of thinking, was also the only one who understood that in normal circumstances there would be a bad odor in the tomb because of her brother’s death. But Jesus, as patient as he is, reminded her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”

1 John 4:18

We are all like Martha.

Jesus Desires Martha

Man, I love that Jesus loves Martha so much in this story. He never silences her or tells her to can’t carry her own burden. There is a beauty in being desperate for Jesus. There is a beauty in wanting to talk to him and seeking understanding. When we desire him, there is a reality that Jesus desired us long before we were created. In the same way he loved Martha, he loves you too. He never wants you to stop talking to him. He never wants you to stop asking questions and running towards him. What Martha does, that we all can learn from and do, is to simply listen and obey Jesus. In the end, Jesus asked her: “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). And then what happened? Martha saw the glory of God! Lazarus was risen! Today, Jesus sees all the despair in you, how much you want answers, and how much you need him. He will answer you, but we must wait.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.

Isaiah 30:18-19

Jesus loves Martha.

Mary Desires Jesus

So starting in John 11, we see that Mary is distinguished as the same one who poured out perfume and wiped her hair on Jesus’ feet in another story. She is a common character throughout the gospels, but here we can see a new depth to her faith that surpasses death. Before the death of Lazarus, we can see that she had already seen and believed Jesus to be the Messiah who loves her dearly. Like many of us, we have a relationship and love Jesus, but we will still face trials that challenges us and deepens our faith.

She and her sister sent for Jesus hoping for a quick response (as we often do when we need Jesus’ help) but instead of Jesus moving hastily, he waited two more days. During that time, Lazarus died. God does everything for a reason, and this waiting period was the period of their perseverance, character, and hope (see Romans 5:4).

The Bible doesn’t say what happened to Mary during those two days, but we can see that many Jews came to comfort her because of the loss of her brother. Using this part of the passage, you could probably preach an entire week-long conference on the subject of waiting and still not fully understand why God sometimes makes us wait.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:9

The question we should be asking ourselves is not “what is taking so long?” but rather, “what is God using this period of waiting for in my life?” Is God more focused on us getting the end result, or on what he is doing to change us for the better? What questions are in our hearts during those hopeless times? When we’ve thought of every possibility and we’ve laid out our requests to Jesus, but it seems like nothing is happening? Do we think of the worst possible outcome and assume that’s what will happen? How much doubt and regret are in our hearts and minds? Going over every detail of what we could have done differently. Our minds can go hundreds of miles per hour. I suggest you take some time to examine yourself with those questions. What is God trying to teach you?

Despite her mourning, when Mary heard that the Teacher was asking for her, she quickly got up and went to him. She didn’t turn away or was angry, but instead ran to him, causing the other Jews to follow her to Jesus. Mary was coming from a place of mourning and desperation, but her faith still penetrated strongly through the trial when all was lost. Her statement pinpoints that with Jesus, anything is possible. Even her brother would be brought back to life again, beyond all human aid and logic, because she believed in Jesus and his power.

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell to his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32


Sidenote: Jesus will call to us. It will not be during the time you think you need it, but on his own timing. But during that call, it will not only focus on you, but it will also attract others. When Mary ran to Jesus, I am sure she wasn’t concerned if the other people were with her. But they followed. That is another point, people will see your relationship with Jesus. Our relationship isn’t meant to be private, but a testimony to others. So what will you do if Jesus is calling you?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Romans 12:1-2


My friend, always remember that no matter who may not understand your cries or try to minimize your struggles and feelings, Jesus will always listen. There will be times, if not all the time, when life does not make sense. Just know that there are things God is doing in the background that we can’t see or comprehend. When all our efforts of problem solving seem futile, Jesus goes above and beyond to help us every time. We have to place our burdens at his feet regardless of what solutions we think we can logically create, because Jesus is beyond all our understanding. We are all like Mary.

Jesus Desires Mary

Jesus loves Mary. His love freed her from her sorrow and weeping. Jesus never reprimanded her because of her emotions, but instead shared with her in her trouble. His love still brings joy in the midst of pain when all hope is lost. Throughout the scriptures, we can see her emotions and feelings are not pushed aside, but instead are fully displayed and shared with Jesus. Jesus was not angry, or did not question her tone. He also didn’t say, “it will be alright” or “I understand, I know what it’s like to lose a family member.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. He asked “Where have you laid him?” (John 11:33-34)

Instead of using his words to comfort her, Jesus does something even greater. He uses his words to raise Lazarus. He changes her weeping to praise. Jesus loves Mary.

Jesus Wants You

Jesus meets us where we need to be met. He met each of Lazarus’ sisters where they needed to be met. Martha needed to talk it out. Martha showed a desire for understanding and asked questions, and Jesus gave answers. Mary needed someone to cry with, so Jesus wept with her. Jesus will come to you where you need to be met and comfort you. Isn’t that so beautiful?

Whatever situation we are in, we believe there are only two ways to react: logically or emotionally. But there is a third reaction displayed throughout the entire Bible that Jesus follows on. And that is faithful reactions. No matter how painful a season maybe, we can choose to have faith that God is doing something great with this season. No matter how illogical it is or how much it hurts, we can still choose to faithfully trust and believe in Jesus.

There will be times when even though you’re a Christian and you’ve poured out all your, heart and money and life at the feet of Jesus, the trials still come. We’re still here in this fallen world. God tests our faith and refines us to grow deeper in love with him than we ever thought possible. God already sees us as brighter, greater, and more glorious than we could ever imagine, but he’s pushing us to the ultimate beauty of perfection in heaven with him. We all want to have that ultimate beauty, but only God knows how we can achieve it.

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they believe that you sent me.”

John 11:40-42


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