The Dark Side of Grace
The dark side of God's grace is that a sovereign God who is in control sometimes uses the things he allows as much as he uses the things he directs.
In the structure of John's gospel, John 11 serves as a hinge between two halves. The first 10 chapters are concerned with the ministry of Jesus over the course of 3 years. But from John 11 onward, the events unfold just under two weeks. What happens in John 11 precipitates the crucifixion of Jesus, which leads to the hour of his glorification. John has been looking ahead to this hinge point, evidenced by Jesus saying again and again, "Mine hour has not yet come." As the story of Lazarus unfolds in John 11, we realize that the hour is upon us.
In the story of Lazarus's death and resurrection, John gives us more than mere historical happenstance. He gives us more than a glimpse of the resurrection power of Jesus. He gives us more than another display of Jesus' lordship. Within this narrative John offers a view of the dark side of grace.
There is a dark side of grace.
You probably don't know Mark Heart. He's a Christian, a husband, a father, and an employee. Like most husbands, fathers, and businessmen, he juggles these responsibilities and sometimes they come into conflict. Sometimes he has to make difficult decisions about whether or not to be a good employee and do the things that his bosses ask of him, or to be a good husband and father and tend to things at home. Just over a year ago, he to make a decision along those lines. He was scheduled to leave on a Sunday for a business trip, but his daughter had a doctor's appointment on the following Monday. Because his wife also works, they were struggling to determine who would take her to the doctor. Knowing his presence would be of great comfort to his daughter, Mark decided he would not go on the business trip. So, he wasn't sitting in seat 2A on flight 5191 as it ...
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Hershael York is pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Kentucky, as well as Professor of Christian Preaching and Associate Dean of Ministry and Proclamation in the School of Theology of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.