Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Test

Talk about audacious. Today it would be like exhuming a body a month after the burial. We squirm with the unpleasantness and so did Martha.

Jesus had asked her to open the tomb. Her reply was understandable: "Lord, already there is a stench.”[1] She was in the acceptance stage of grief. She gently reminded Jesus, “he has been dead four days."[2]

Remember that after four days of death, there was no longer hope in Jewish circles.

To open the tomb would expose the indelicacies of death. Yet it was to Martha that Jesus had disclosed his resurrection power. “I am the resurrection and the life,” he’d said to her. “Do you believe this?”

She’s said yes and now he asked for the step. Open the tomb.

No longer were they talking platitudes or easy words of belief. Jesus asked for belief in action. Open the tomb.

Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" [3]

Decision time. Jesus came to Bethany, where he planned to reveal the glory of God, and Martha had to choose.

Jesus announced his intent, "Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me."[4]

The purpose for all this was to develop belief. These witnesses were about to see a miracle greater than any they had seen before.

As Lazarus came from the tomb, impossibly alive, these witnesses saw that Jesus’ words and his actions connected. Jesus revealed the Father’s glory. Would the people believe?

Tomorrow: Selecting Carefully

[1] John 11:39

[2] John 11:39

[3] John 11:40

[4] John 11:42

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