Martha Picture

When I think about the adult life of Jesus, I often wonder what life was like for Him. Besides His disciples, did He have a lot of friends?  I imagine that most people who befriended him were more interested in His miracles than His friendship. But what about His disciples? Where they His friends?  I believe He loved them all dearly, even though, He might have been a bit partial to Peter, James and John.  I also believe that Jesus had a genuine friendship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. He loved them dearly, so much so, that He wept when Lazarus died.

Jesus, if you would have been there, my brother would not have died. Jesus, if you would have been there, my father would not have gotten cancer.  Jesus, if you would have been there, we wouldn’t have lost our child. Jesus, if you would have been there, I would have been delivered from the clutches of drugs and alcohol. Jesus, if you would have been there, I wouldn’t have been molested. Jesus, if you would have been there, I wouldn’t have gone to jail. Jesus if you wouldn’t have been there, I wouldn’t have (fill in the blank).  Do any of the above scenarios strike a chord? How many times has Jesus wept in our lives? Instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt, we scold him. We curse him. We abandon him.

I believe the reason Jesus cried was probably deeper than what we see on the surface. I don’t believe that Jesus cried because Lazarus died. Why would he? He was the Son of God, and he knew that he was about to raise him from the dead. In fact, in John 11:4, Jesus said, ““Lazarus’ sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” Jesus had promised that Lazarus would not die in that moment. However, the caveat was that God would receive the glory.

When it came down to it, Mary and Martha, whom he loved dearly, did not trust him. They called themselves His friend, yet they didn’t even give him the benefit of the doubt.  The body was already buried.  The wailers were already mourning.  They had fully embraced death.  I believe in that moment Jesus’ humanity took over. And he was deeply saddened.  To make matters worse, Martha had the nerve to give Jesus a piece of her mind.  Now, it’s easy for me to sit on this side of time and judge her through the lens of retrospect.  However, Martha is no different from me.  How many times have I “reprimanded” God for not delivering a promise on my timetable?  How many times have I buried living promises because their slow movement mimicked rigor mortis?  How many times have you?  Thankfully, God is faithful, even when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13).

40 Jesus responded, ‘Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?’ 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.’ 43 Then Jesus shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ 44 And the dead man came out, (John 11:40-43, NLT).

Here is one of the pivotal things that Jesus did when He was surrounded by unbelief. He praised God. Psalms 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name,” (NIV). Before Jesus attempted to access the promise, He ignited His praise. So often, so many of us cannot wait to get in God’s court, not so that we can praise Him, but so that we can wag our finger at Him and give Him a piece of our minds.

The Bible says that we should enter His court with thanksgiving. Doing so, reminds us of our rightful position before the throne. We serve God, not the other way around. God encourages us to be authentic–to share our hearts with Him and surrender our pain. However, we need to acknowledge that He is God.

Today, as we embark on our second day of our challenge, I challenge you to enter His gates with thanksgiving. For the next 20 days, start your morning by thanking and praising God. Before you open your eyes in the morning, enter His court with thanksgiving. It doesn’t have to be a long sermon, just thank Him. Also, throughout the day, thank Him for your “Lazaruses.” Thank Him for those promises that are not dead, but are sleeping and waiting on the right time to bring glory to God.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, we step into your court with thanksgiving. We thank you for being God. We thank you for making all things new. “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me,” (v.41). Lord, on the authority of Jesus, I pray, “Lazarus come out!” Lord, you know us individually, and you know what our “Lazaruses” are. Lord, we speak to those promises that appear to be dead, but are only sleeping. Come out! Come out! Come out. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Advertisements