“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (John 11:5-6).
“So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died'” (John 11:20-21).
“Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go’ (John 11:38-44).
Lazarus had died and Martha and Mary were devastated. They had lost their brother and fully believed that things would have been different if only Jesus had arrived sooner.
When I read through these passages I get a bit angry. I know how it ends, so the anger doesn’t last long. I know Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and I understand why He did what He did, but I get angry because I know how Mary and Martha must have felt. In this last season of my life I feel just like them. I keep thinking, Lord if you had been here sooner then I wouldn’t be in this situation, my husband wouldn’t be searching for a job, I wouldn’t have been rear ended on the highway. The list could go on and on, situation after situation. Feeling like the Lord missed the mark on His timing.
I am like Martha in so many ways. When she hears Jesus is coming she goes out to the gate to meet Him. She even says to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Martha knows the truth. She has spent time with Jesus and she understands what He has been teaching. I can relate to her here. Every morning I get up and spend time with the Lord and I pray to Him, “Lord I know that you will provide in your timing” or “Lord I believe you are the way, truth, and life.” And truly I do know (head knowledge) those things. The problem is connecting them to my heart and making it personal.
The other day it hit me. Like Martha, I believe what God’s word says and I know His truth but I am not really applying it to MY life. I’m missing what He’s telling me. The truths that I pray and know in my head can be lived out in my everyday life. God can do more than I hope or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). I love in John 11:39 when Jesus asks them to move the stone away. He is getting ready to raise a man from the dead for crying out loud, couldn’t He just point his finger and make the stone completely disappear? But again, what a sweet Lord we have. I think He wanted to involve Martha and Mary in this. He wants them to take a step of faith and show Him that they trust He can perform this miracle. He didn’t ask much of them but He asks a small task, “Take away the stone.”
What is God asking you to do? For me, He wants me to believe that He is in control, that He is never late. He wants us to take a step of faith and just like with Martha, He will be right there with us when we do. He wants us to step out in faith and ”move the stone.” I challenge all of you to read John 11: 1-44. This story is one we’ve heard a lot, and may tend to overlook, but is so miraculous, and so important. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead so that those in the crowd, and Martha, and Mary, and me and you, could see the glory of the Father, and know that he sent Jesus to unbind all of us.
Standing on the Word