Monday, February 6, 2017
Do You Believe This?
I love these Martha and Jesus moments. They are delightfully profound and profoundly human. As we continue to hang out at verses 21 to 24 we see another teaching/learning moment. Dear Martha is kind of, sort of, whining again in verse 21: “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” And we also see her giving sort of like the equivalent of a regurgitated reply in verse 24: Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” In between, however, tucked in verse 22 we see a glimpse of Martha’s clarity: “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Martha gets it!
She knows she is standing in front of Divinity and that the ground her feet are touching is Holy Ground! Regardless of how much the material world distracts her, Martha is still a child of the Most High, and as such, her heart is a heart after God’s own…even if imperfectly. Otherwise, Jesus would not give her, in a few seconds, one of the most outstanding revelations ever presented in all of Scripture to a human creature…let alone a woman!
I am so glad that Martha existed and that her story, short and all, made it into the pages of the Bible, for knowing that there was such a woman, and that Jesus loved her so that He revealed Himself to her in a profound manner, fills my heart with hope.
I don’t know if this encounter happened before or after the time when Jesus went into Martha and Mary’s home, but I don’t think it really matters. The timing of these events is not the point. The point is that Jesus meets us wherever we are and that regardless of our faults, of our inability to stay focused, of our perceived inadequacy, He still takes the time to teach us and show us the way as He walks along with us.
Martha’s sentence expresses incredible faith. “It doesn’t matter if my brother is dead, Lord, I know you can bring him back!” That’s what her words imply. In a very Martha-practical-manner, right to the point, her action-prone mind recognizes the power of the Man standing in front of her and that His words are action. She seems, however, to falter again, when she replies “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day…” It is almost as if she takes a few steps back at the words of Jesus: “Your brother will rise again.” It feels as if Jesus’ affirmation seemed so strong that it went over her head.
I imagine this scene as Martha missing the point one more time…then, Jesus, with His ever-perfect timing, catching her as He says: Martha, stay with me, girl! “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. Do you believe this?”
I don’t know how Martha was able to keep it together. The intensity of Jesus’ words as His piercing stare would have melted me away like ice-cream left outside at noon in July in Arizona.
Martha…our dear Martha…our controlling, demanding, whining, stubborn, distracted Martha got to experience such a magnificent moment with Jesus. I just want to cry! No one is too far gone to fall outside the reach of Our Lord’s hands.
“Do you believe this?”