Sometimes stories in the Bible are too good to condense for the sake of a point. A fresh reading of a story in its entirety brings about greater understanding and spiritual nutrition. I usually aim to paraphrase or reference Scripture to illustrate a point; however, I think this is one of those sometimes moments. I believe the reading of Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11 has more in it for anyone who reads than I could possibly aim to illustrate.
How often do we feel like Martha running to Jesus, the One who can do anything anywhere, with words of disappointment and heartache? If He had been present, things would be different.
Like Martha, our hearts may be toward the Lord, listening but not hearing; we may follow Him but not fully believe. The hearing-but-not-hearing scenario is a tough one for me. Of all the words I hear in life, I want Jesus’ words to grab my heart in the full understanding from which they were spoken. And of all things, I want to believe that He is Who He says He is.
Martha heard Jesus speak of the resurrection, but she did not hear the truth that He IS The Resurrection—today, now. In her despair, she locked in on what she already knew to be true. (This testifies that the eyes of her heart were enlightened with the understanding of Jesus and His Kingdom in good measure already).
What I see in this text is that, in the midst of her pain, Jesus was actually calling her to a deeper place in Himself.
Martha, I AM the Resurrection and the source of life; those who believe in Me will live even in death. Do you believe this?
She agreed, with what I imagine was a huff that fully communicated her frustration that Jesus was not doing something! Of course Lazarus would rise with all the saints on that day! But Jesus didn’t press the point that He really meant today, and that today hinged on her belief. And He journeyed toward Bethany to be with His friends.
Take a moment to ask the Lord if you’ve heard-but-not-heard Him lately? Has the hope for a godly mate waned with the lack of prospects or a recent breakup? Engage the Lord this Valentine’s Day to hear Him anew regarding your spouse. I believe you’ll hear a similar word: believe, and you will see the glory of God.
Standing before the tomb where Lazarus had been buried for four days, Jesus asked for the stone to be removed. Martha said what everyone was thinking: It’s going to stink to high heaven.
And yet, Jesus was calling her still to a deeper place in Himself.
Remember, I told you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God.
What I think we miss so often is that Lazarus rose from the grave right after Jesus reminded Martha to believe. And yet we give Martha a bad rap, as if she wasn’t spiritual enough. But that’s not how the story goes. Yes, she had her weak points, but the truth is that she did believe. Lazarus woke up. She and all those gathered saw the glory of God.
This is the beautiful thing about having God around to tell our story: it is glorified. Remember how long Abraham waited before the promise of a child was fulfilled?
This is just as true for us. As long as we keep our heart postured tenderly before Him, asking for the eyes of our heart to be enlightened with understanding, all He sees is faith.
I don’t know how your story is going to be written, but one thing I do know is that you’re going to see the glory of God. Keep going. Keep believing, even when it hurts. Roll the tomb away. And embrace the impossible. Sometimes our desires need the fresh wind of knowing that He is the Resurrection!
Lord, You are the resurrection and the source of life. I pray that we would hear You say You are the Resurrection and the Life and have renewed vision for what that really means—today, for each one of us. I pray that as we receive this vision of Who You are, that we would remain in that place and not doubt. I pray for those believing for a godly spouse and ask for You to encourage them to remain steadfast and to continue to believe. You are our source to overcoming Valentine blues. Let the stories of Martha and Abraham bring encouragement to continue the faith walk. Despite how messy it looks, You’re looking for believing hearts turned toward You! Bless us in every way You think we need. Thank You, Lord, for being our source for life! In Jesus’ name, amen.