Resurrection Power

I have been reading about Mary and Martha. I am more like a Martha most of the time…busy and always moving. However, I do have my Mary moments. Since my cancer, I have been taking more of those. Mary had such a sensitive spirit to the Lord. She simply wanted to sit at his feet. The bustle of life did not stop her from this humble place. I notice that in John 11, after Lazarus died, Martha went out to meet Jesus. She said, “If you had been here my brother would not have died.” The conversation goes on and Jesus tells her “your brother will rise again.” She believes him to be talking about the last days. She confirms that he is the life and the Messiah, and then returns to the house to get Mary.
What I find odd is that Mary stayed home even though she knew Jesus was coming. I mean she is the one that wanted to sit at his feet before…so why wasn’t she the first one to meet him? I’m just thinking and wondering. Was it her grief that kept her in the house, her cave? Was she doubting him, or disappointed that he did not come sooner? I wonder if she questioned what she believed. I mean she knew him…really knew him…hung on his every word, but her brother still died. It must have shaken her to have the faith that he would be there and then he was not. Did the sisters think they would be spared the heartache of a tragedy because of their closeness to the Lord? Could she have been hurt that he did not show up? Could Mary’s questions be: Did I do something wrong? Is he really the Messiah if he did not prevent this? What did Lazarus do to deserve this; he was one of the master’s best friends? Have I got it all wrong? A four-day crisis of belief in the pit. The next part of the story is shows us that she had not entirely lost her faith.
Martha goes and tells Mary that Jesus is asking for her. Has he ever asked for you? Where are you? Why do you not come to meet with me with your hurt? Mary’s response, when she hears he has called for her, is to run to him. Whatever kept her back before does not hold her back when he calls her name. When she sees Jesus, she says the very same words that Martha uttered earlier, “If you had been here my brother would not have died.” She falls at his feet weeping, her tears washing over his feet. Amazingly, it says, “He groaned in his spirit and was troubled.” Her grief moved him. I think he heard a hidden question behind the statement… “Why did you not come to the rescue?” Notice the difference between his reaction to Martha and his response to Mary. They both said the same thing…yet he was moved in his spirit by Mary’s tears.
In the next moment comes shortest verse in the bible, but one of the most powerful…Jesus wept. He felt strong emotion and openly expressed it. What a comfort in our times of grief to know he feels our pain. The people around him said, “See how he loved him.” Again, I wonder. He knew he was soon to be raising Lazarus. He had already proclaimed that fact to Martha. So was it the death of his friend that made him cry…or the tears and heartache of the people? They said, “Couldn’t this man, who opened the eyes of the blind, have caused Lazarus not to die?” He responds with deeper groaning in his spirit. Was it grief for Lazarus, or the fact that the ones closest to him could not see who he really was? Or maybe both. The truth is that he knew their hurt, he knew their pain, and even when he knew the glory to come, he did not side-step the grief of the moment. His best friend was dead, his followers grieving and questioning. He, himself was groaning, his spirit empty from sadness and when the time came for the glory to be displayed Jesus prayed to his father, “I know you hear me always, but because of the people I stand by I ask it, that they may believe that it is you who sent me.” It was for the benefit of the people…so they would see and know…no more doubts…no more questions. All of that was put to rest with the words “Lazarus come forth!!…and he that was dead came forth.” Jesus said, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” What a mighty statement. Do we believe he has the power to defeat death, loose us and let us go? He raised the dead as he raises us…out of his great grief and love for us. In our doubts, when our foundations are shaking and all that we believe is under review, he greets us with groans and tears. Then he shows us his resurrection power. He says, “Did I not say that if you would believe you would see the Glory of God?” Do we question him? Do we wonder if he has abandoned us? He sets the record straight with his resurrection power wrapped in compassionate tears. We say to him, “If you had come sooner this would not have happened.” But he knows through the grief comes the power. Through the death comes life…he cannot raise something that is alive…we must die to live. He is moving and at work in the pain and soon he will call out Come Forth…and we who are grieved will be alive again!

One thought on “Resurrection Power

  1. “And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said,
    Father I thank thee that thou hast heard me” John 11:41.

    This is a strange and unusual order. Lazrous is still in the grave,
    and thanksgiving precedes the miracle of resurrection.
    You would think thanksgiving would have been after
    Lazrous was restored to life.
    Miracles are wrought by spititual power
    “It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord” Psalms.

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