Loved by Jesus (26-09-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 47:1-2
Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.
Bible Reading: John 11:1, 3-5
Now a man named Lazarus was sick.
He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death.
No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
Praying for a loved one who is sick can seem quite daunting. We might not be sure exactly what to pray for, we might worry about using the right words, we might worry that our prayer might somehow be selfish, or that there are others who are worse off. Before long we can confuse ourselves so much that we don’t actually pray.
I love the way that Mary and Martha approach Jesus on behalf of their sick brother, Lazarus. Their prayer is very simple, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’ They then just left it to Jesus.
Notice that the justification for this prayer is the love of Jesus for Lazarus, not the love of Lazarus for Jesus. I have heard many prayers for people that go along the lines of, ‘Lord, please heal Fred, he is such a good Christian, he has done this for the church, he does that for his neighbours, he’s such a good man… he deserves your healing.’
In fact, when it comes to prayer we deserve nothing from God, we all fall short in one way or another, even the most devout Christian. All that God gives us is because of his grace, because of his total and unconditional love for us. The justification for answered prayer is never our love for Jesus, but always Jesus’ love for us and for those in need.
God has already demonstrated his great love for us by sending his son Jesus to die for us on a cross so that we could know his love, find peace and forgiveness, and have eternal life. Anything else we might ask for is almost taken a read. As St Paul says in Romans 8:32, ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
When you pray there are two things you can be certain of; God loves you and God loves the person you are praying for.
Is there someone you are concerned about at the moment? Why not tell Jesus about them, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’ And then leave them to Jesus.
Lord Jesus, help me to keep my simple faith in your outstanding love.
Before the throne of God above.