Saturday 05 August 2017

Bible Book:

John 11:17-27 Saturday 5 August 2017

Psalm: Psalm 50:1-15


This section of John's Gospel provides a plethora of characterswith whom we might identify. Different people have differentresponses to (and understandings of) Jesus, some of which we mightrecognise only too well, and some of which might challenge orencourage us. Here, centre stage is given to Martha, leading up toher confession of faith.

It is significant, perhaps, that Martha's confession does notcome at a time when she thinks Jesus is wonderful! She goes to meethim and her greeting is one of chastisement, as well as anexpression of confidence in his presence (verses 21-22). She isangry with him and she does not fully understand his actions, noris she able to reconcile his behaviour with her expectations ofhim. Yet, even in the midst of her anger, frustration andbewilderment, she still knows who Jesus is and believes in him. Incontrast to the disciples who were present at the first sign at thewedding in Cana (John 2:1-11), Martha's belief comes beforeJesus' sign. Indeed not only he did not act as she expected but hehas contributed to her grief. She is not satisfied by his religiousteaching as she knows the thinking and practice well, but it offerslittle comfort to her in her grief.

Jesus then responds with words of revelation (verse 25). Againthey relate to the ongoing conversation about who he is: Jesus isthe resurrection and the life. In him is the transforming love,light and energy of the Father who raises from death to life, andhe makes present the reality of this divine life for those who knowhim. Through Jesus' own suffering, death and resurrection othersare raised and set free to new life.

Jesus does not deny the reality of physical death, but gives anassurance of everlasting life. He promises a new kind and qualityof life that continues beyond the grave. Even death is of relevantand not final importance. Those who have faith in Jesus are alreadyalive in eternity. And Martha, in the midst of her grief, anger andfrustration, has faith!

To Ponder

  • When you feel angry, frustrated or let down by God, what do youdo with those feelings?
  • Sometimes our knowledge of God does not match ourexperience.  What helps you to work your way through thesetimes?
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