Summary: God’s desire is to have intimacy with His children
INTIMACY: Innermost. Marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity. Marked by warm friendship. Suggesting informal warmth or privacy. Of a very personal or private nature.
The greatest underlying truth in the Bible is that God did not create us, nor does He desire us to experience Him in an impersonal way. However, for too many of us, if we were to describe our relationship with God with one word, intimate would be the last word that we would use. We might use words like obedience, service, worship, or fear, but not intimate.
All of the terms are good and should be defining characteristics of our relationship with God, but not as the primary definition. When these terms are the primary description over intimacy, everything else gets out of order.
The main reason that so many Christian’s lives are out of order is because of this mix up in God’s purpose for our lives. We are created to have an intimate relationship with God; we were not created to serve but to love.
Our experience of God is dependent upon our intimacy with God. Everything we do “for” God is secondary to this. God never intended us to find our fulfillment in “doing,” but in “being”. Our doing is only an expression of our being.
Yet, the hardest thing for us to apprehend about God; the greatest mystery in the Bible is that God longs for and desires intimacy with His children. Christian’s have no trouble believing in creation, sea’s being parted, dead being raised to life, or even a donkey speaking. But when it comes to the subject of God desiring intimacy with us, we balk.
Yet, this remains the greatest and most profound fact in all of Scripture. Every doctrine and truth in the Bible is predicated on and built upon this one fundamental mystery. From beginning to end, the Bible declares God’s desire to be intimate with His creation.
I say that this is a “mystery,” but really it’s not; it is one of the most simple and clear truths in the Bible on the surface. But sadly, this is where most of us stay, on the surface. None of us who are Christians would deny the simple truth we learned at our conversion, that God loves us. But the sad fact is that many of us get over it within a few months after our conversion.
We never plunge beneath the surface of this fundamental truth; we never dive off into the mystery of why God loves us. And this is the greatest truth that God desires to reveal to you because the deeper you dive, the more of Himself He is able to reveal to you. And the more of God you see, the greater your love towards will be, and the greater your love is towards Him, the more glory you will give Him, because you will become more like Him.
This is why He desires intimacy with His children, not so you can be more spiritual, or church will be more fun, but that God will be glorified in and through you.
All through the Bible we see God taken the initiative to cultivate this love relationship with us. His desire has always been to show us more of Himself and to give us a greater knowledge of Himself so that we may love Him more. We see this in the text before us, God taking the initiative to give us more of Himself.
Three portraits of intimacy seen through the lives of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus:
I. Where Intimacy is Born: Mary
A. In Silence: VV1-6 – Oddly enough (seems like an oxy-moron). Describe the scene: Sickness, no Jesus. Death, no Jesus. Funeral, no Jesus. But as soon as he dies Jesus decides to go, why the delay? Why the silence? Two reasons: 1. His love for them (V5). 2. Their familiarity with Him. They knew Jesus could heal, and they knew if He had been there He would have healed Lazarus. And that is why He didn’t come. They would have received an answer to their prayer, but they would have missed a greater revelation of who Jesus is. Jesus’ delay was not a rejection, but an opportunity to reveal more of Himself to His friends. An opportunity for them to become more intimate with Him. The greatest temptation for us is using God rather than loving Him, or following Him for what he can do for us instead of for who He is. Illustration: When Jesus told the many followers in John 6 that, “Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you,” many of them deserted Him because the teaching was “too hard”. The truth was that they were following Him because He had just fed them, and they liked it and wanted more of it. Jesus wanted to be more than these people’s caterer; He wanted to give them more than just a meal. He wanted them to know that their expectations of Him were too low. He wanted to do more than just provide sustenance for physical life; He would be their source for eternal life. Jesus’ graphic teaching was meant to shock them into looking beneath the surface of the miraculous meal and see the true meaning. They wanted to trade the “Bread of heaven” for just plain bread. If they had stayed long enough they would have learned that Jesus used this hard teaching to frustrate the impure motives of everyone who tried to be close to Him. This is exactly what we see here with MM&L; Jesus is frustrating their motives for desiring Him to come. They wanted their brother healed, but Jesus wants to show them that He’s much more than just a miracle worker. If your desire is to be more intimate with the Lord, the first sign that He has heard your prayer and is answering it will be silence. That silence is His sign that He is bringing you into a greater understanding of who He is. He wants to do more than just give you an answer to your prayer. We trade to best for the good! His silence will be contagious; it will get into you. We see this in the next thing where intimacy is born.