Jesus Brings Lazarus to Life
17When Jesus got to Bethany, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18Bethany was less than three kilometers from Jerusalem, 19and many people had come from the city to comfort Martha and Mary because their brother had died.
20When Martha heard that Jesus had arrived, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22Yet even now I know that God will do anything you ask.”
23Jesus told her, “Your brother will live again!”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will be raised to life on the last day, when all the dead are raised.”
25Jesus then said, “I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die. 26And everyone who lives because of faith in me will never really die. Do you believe this?”
27“Yes, Lord!” she replied. “I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God. You are the one we hoped would come into the world.”
Oh, how a little bit of bad press can be a terrible thing. The first time we meet Martha in the scriptures she is distracted, worried and upset because while she’s working hard to take care of things for Jesus, she feels her sister isn’t pulling her weight. Jesus gently tells her that she needs to realign her priorities, and make time to simply listen.
My childhood storybook version of Martha shows her as an angry woman, who scowls a lot. In fact, she was listed as a Biblical villain. So, you can imagine my surprise when I first read the actual Biblical account for myself and hit upon these words a little earlier in this passage, “Now, Jesus loved Martha…”
Here we see Martha running out to meet Jesus and professing her absolute faith in him as the Messiah, and Son of God – declaring a faith the disciples themselves hadn’t reached yet.
It is to Martha that Jesus speaks the famous words which are so central to our faith, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (vv 25-26 NIV).
Martha is a hero of mine, because she learned from Jesus’ correction and continued to have a close relationship with him. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my own relationship with Jesus, and being far too distracted by church work to actually listen to him is definitely on the list. But, like Martha, I hope to learn from Christ’s rebuke, run to him in times of pain and confess my faith in his salvation.
Dear Lord, Thank you for the new life that you offer us, and that even if we’ve made mistakes in the past, we can always run to you. Amen.