15.3 John – X’s and O’s, a Foundation of Faith

Jesus comes on the scene to raise Lazarus from the dead.  So why is he doesn’t he get right to it?  Why is he engaging in these dialogues with Martha and Mary?  I think it shows a difference between our priorities and God’s priorities.  To us, the big thing is Lazarus’ life.  This is a big deal, a huge miracle, something that just doesn’t happen.  The guy has been dead for 4+ days.  It is one thing to resurrect someone who had a heart attack 30 seconds ago and another altogether for someone dead for over 4 days.  This isn’t a near death, this is dead dead.

But, to Jesus, Lazarus resurrection wasn’t the most important thing.  Jesus was going to raise Lazarus back to life, demonstrating His authority over life and death and His divinity.  But, later, Lazarus was going to die again.  The bigger thing, for Jesus, was faith, bringing it and building it in others. And the path of faith can be very different.

Martha is an X, straight line, connect the dots person.  Jesus meets her and asking questions, brings her along her path of increased faith.  Step by step, we see her grow.

Mary, on the other hand, is an O.  She is emotional.  She needs to wrap her arms around her faith, to feel it, to experience it.  She doesn’t walk her faith, she breathes it and wears it.  Jesus connects with her to build her faith where she is.  He is moved and compassionate and He moves to relieve and remove her distress.

When we think of God’s power and authority it is difficult to understand His desire to be compassionate and connect personally with each and every one of us.  As John says in 3:16, the reason Jesus came was because God loves the world.

Instead of prayers for God to take action, maybe we should pray for God to help us increase our faith.

My Answers:

1. “Lord if you had been here”, she had faith that Jesus could have healed Laz
2. “I know he will rise in resurrection” she had faith in everlasting life
3. “I believe you are the Messiah, Son of God” she knew and believed in Jesus’ diety
4. she went and called Mary to come to Jesus, too

These words explain the gift of eternal life.  Even though a believer experiences a physical death, they still will live and those who believe live even through death (i.e., they stay themselves in a new body, not just a metaphor that our elements rejoin the universe or that we are reincarnated into something/someone else).

He loves Mary, Martha and he felt for them and their grief.  He is a compassionate, loving and caring God.


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