Thursday, June 11, 2020

John 11 - Part 2

Read John 11

By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days.  Bethany was only a couple miles from Jerusalem so many Jews had come to comfort the sisters. 

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him.  She was courteous in her greeting but exasperated that he had taken so long.  If you had only been here.

It’s not Martha’s fault that she thinks Jesus is restrained by time and space.  Most people would have thought the same.  There’s one notable exception in the gospels when Jesus healed the servant of a Centurion without having to visit him physically.  The Centurion understood authority more than most of the Jews. There is a similar account in John but without the verbiage on authority.

Martha is still limited to her life experience.  She loves the Lord and believes him to be the Messiah, but her thinking hadn’t caught up to her beliefs yet.

Had Jesus desired to heal Lazarus and remain at the Jordan, he could have done it.  Remember that Jesus noted upon first hearing the news about Lazarus, he noted that what transpired was so that Jesus might reveal God’s glory.

We saw the same thing with the man born blind.  The hopeless situation would be opportunity for Jesus to show the glory of God.

But Martha had some inkling of hope.  She was despondent because Jesus had arrived too late; yet she said even now God will give to you whatever you ask.  Was she thinking the impossible?

Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again.

She replied, I know.  He will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Her brother was surely a believer and she expected to see him again, whenever that day would come.

But it was time for another I am statement.

She replied in her faith.

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Jesus asked her do you believe?  She replied, I believe in you and who you say you are.

Martha answered the question that the religious leaders would not.  She affirmed that Jesus was the Messiah, something those who should have recognized him could not bring themselves to do.

Now it’s Mary’s turn.  Her sister told her that Jesus was here and asking for her.  She went straightway to see him.  Those comforting her thought she was headed to the tomb so they followed.

Mary came to Jesus who was still on the outskirts of town and fell at his feet sobbing.  Lord, if you had only been here.

Martha and Mary were both hurting.  Jesus knew what he would do, yet he felt their sorrow.  He felt their loss.  Jesus saw the pain of those who had come to comfort these women. 

Jesus was God.  Jesus was human.  Jesus endured all sorts of things for his mission given him by his Father.

Want to know what Jesus was not?  He was not stoic.  Jesus wept.  Many of you know it as the shortest verse in the Bible.

I think we should see it as a glimpse into the humanity of Jesus.  We do not have a Savior who cannot sympathize with us.  Jesus lived the human life.  I suspect with good cause, that Jesus had been hungry—even after the 40 days in the wilderness, he was thirsty—not just while in Samaria, he got sweat in his eyes while walking on a hot day, and I would expect that his feet were calloused from walking so much, except when he walked on top of the water.

We know that Jesus was tempted but did not sin.  We see also that he felt the hurt of losing a loved one.

We know that Jesus experienced physical pain in his final hours, but when he came to raise Lazarus from the dead, he felt the pain of loss.  He didn’t have an on/off switch where he just turned off the pain.

Jesus wept.

While Jesus wept, nothing would keep him from his mission given him by his Father.  At that moment his mission would take him to the tomb where Lazarus had been for four days.

The Jews were, of course, engaged in their favorite sport—arguing.

Look how much he loved him.

He opened the eyes of a blind man, surely he could have saved Lazarus.

You might wonder what would have happened if they had just been witness to what Jesus was doing.  Perhaps arguing would have given way to belief.
So, a crowd was headed towards the tomb to see what Jesus would do.  The Jews arguing, Martha having professed that Jesus is the Messiah, and Mary was showing him where her brother lay.

What do we take home?

First, we must always be ready to answer the question that Jesus posed to Martha.  Do you believe?

I pray that in good times, bad times, and impossible times, we will profess that we believe. 

The second thing is that we would do well to remember another I am statement that we have come across in John.  These words are powerful.  They don’t need a sermon to buttress them.  We should be able to reach for them whenever we need them.

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.

While Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead to bring glory to God, the greater miracle is that through him, we too may have life.  Even though these bodies will wear out or just stop working from other causes, we will still live.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life.    Remember his words.

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.


No comments:

Post a Comment