To God Be The Glory
Not long before this incident in John 11, the disciples had met a blind man and learned a lesson (John 9:3). They had thought that sickness was the obvious consequence of sin. Jesus disabused them of that notion. “...this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”
A short time later the news came that Lazarus, a close friend of the Lord's, was sick. Though this time the disciples didn’t question the reasons for the sickness, the Lord quickly assured them that God would be glorified through it, just had He had been glorified through the healing of the blind man. The disciples may have assumed that Lazarus too would be healed. Little did they anticipate that Jesus would wait until his friend had died before going to Bethany.
Sickness and death—we rarely say those two words in the same sentence as we say “the glory of God.” After the fact, we can understand how the healing of the blind man and the raising of Lazarus from the dead would bring glory to God. During sickness and death it is much harder to wrap our minds around how such experiences can be in any way glorifying to the God of perfect health and abundant life.
While it is true that, as in the case of both the blind man and Lazarus, their sicknesses were not a consequence of sin, there is also another verse that we often quickly brush over that tells a different story.
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul writes to the church about how they were carrying out the observance of the Lord’s Supper. The Corinthians had tons of issues and their lack of reverence when it came to spiritual things was one of those. The bottom line was: “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 11:30). Most commentators believe that the reference to sleeping indicates that people had actually died because of their lack of reverence for the things of the Lord, specifically during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
But even when weakness and sickness is the result of sin, those consequences are part of God’s plan to bring glory to Himself. What more appropriate way is there to glorify God than through repentance?
The blind man gave public testimony of what God had done in his life. Without a doubt Lazarus told his story over and over again—not many people come back from the dead! But how often do we encourage a repentant believer to share how God touched his life through sickness because of sin, and then how God restored him once that sin had been dealt with?
The abuse of the Lord’s Supper was a public sin. It required a public confession, not out of some ghoulish need for people to hear the gory details, but so that God could be glorified among believers and unbelievers alike.
“To God be the glory” becomes the bottom line for every circumstance in life.