Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus *said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
Martha knew that Jesus could have cured the illness. Lazarus could have been healed. Jesus had done it before. She also knew that the righteous would live again someday. But she grieved the loss of her brother, because she knew that death was final. It was over. Lazarus was dead.
Like Martha, we may believe that Jesus will come again and raise us from the dead…some sweet day. And that He created us…once upon a time. But do I believe that He can give me new life Now? Today? Do I believe that He can take away my fear, my addiction, my lack of self control… this very minute? I should believe it, because Jesus is not only the beginning and the end. He is also the Now.
Why is it so easy to believe that miracles and amazing events have happened or that they will happen, but so much harder to trust that He IS here with me and working in me right now? That my Jesus can change my circumstances–can change ME!–in the twinkling of an eye?
It’s because we are trusting in our feelings. I don’t FEEL anything happening within me, so how can Jesus be in control? I often feel pretty weak, so I think that surely my all-powerful God is hanging out somewhere else today.
Does God tell us to trust our feelings? Are we to put our faith only in what we can see and touch? We tend to believe that sometimes it’s just too late, but God doesn’t see things that way at all! When Thomas heard that Jesus was alive, he was skeptical. Who wouldn’t be? We know that dead means DEAD. But Jesus was alive! And our Lord gave Thomas a gentle rebuke, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.” He doesn’t want us to depend on our own eyes and our own hands; He wants us to trust.
Martha wanted to believe. In v. 22 she says, “I know that even now, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” She was trying to talk herself into believing in Jesus in the Now. But when it came right down to it, she didn’t. In v. 39, when Jesus told them to take away the stone, she protested– It’s been four days! By now he stinks. She knew what happened to dead bodies—they decayed. She certainly had no desire to see (and smell) that!
Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”
Did you ever wonder why Jesus wept?
He surely wasn’t mourning Lazarus–Jesus knew that Lazarus was not gone forever. But He saw the despair around Him. The people were sorrowing, they wished He had gotten there…in time. They believed it was too late. Perhaps Jesus wept for us…for our unbelief. He wants us to be like Him, trusting completely and resting in the Father, but He also knows how hard it is. And He wept.
He feels our sorrows. He understands our grief. He realizes what it is like to want to believe, to almost trust completely, to tell ourselves that we believe wholeheartedly, while still retaining, somewhere in the depths of our humanness, that little pocket of unbelief.
I think Jesus wept for our uncertainty, for all the pain it causes us. He bore our pain, He knows all about it. And with His tears, He says, “Father, forgive them.”
He feels my pain and fear. Right this minute.
He begs forgiveness for me. Today. Right now.
He can change me in a moment. This instant.
Jesus is my Now.