Monday 11 August 2014

Bible Book:
John

“Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’” (v. 21)

John 11:17-27 Monday 11 August 2014


Background

The story of Lazarus is familiar to many Christians - itsymbolises the hope we all have of a real and permanentresurrection to new life. It tells us that the hope God offers usis not simply a metaphorical second chance - but a real and lastingtransformation. It's Gospel gold.

But, like the story of Jesus' own death and resurrection we tendto rush through the tough and upsetting bits to get to the joy atthe end. No one likes living in Easter Saturday - especially whenwe know what's coming. We're going to unpick the story over thenext few days, and today's passage doesn't even get us to Lazarus'tomb, let alone to his resurrection. This is a path we need tofollow - no shortcuts allowed.

Lazarus had already been dead four days (verse 17). Jewishbelief at the time held that the soul lingered over the body forthree days, so it seemed that Lazarus was truly dead. This was thepoint of no return.

It's interesting, too, that Martha came out to meet Jesus (verse20). People in mourning did not normally leave the house during thefirst seven days following a death, except to visit their lovedones' tomb. She clearly had a bone to pick with Jesus. She knew whohe was and what he could do.

John tells us that "having heard that Lazarus was ill, [Jesus]stayed two days longer in the place where he was' (John11:6). Jesus had failed Martha and her family by not comingwhen he heard the news. Here is a woman distraught at her loss andenraged by the failure of Jesus to act when he had the chance.

We don't know why Jesus kicked his heels instead of rushing tohis friend's sickbed. Perhaps it was so that the miracle would beall the more astounding - so that people might see and believe (John11:15).

But Jesus promised to set things right (verse 23). Martha knewhe could heal the sick - but she ain't seen nothing yet.


To Ponder

  • Have you ever felt that God has let you down?
  • If you had the chance to accuse God face-to-face, what mightyou say?
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