Thursday, July 11, 2013

TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD

I read my second favorite story in the Bible today - Lazarus.  I saw that I am spiritually where Mary and Martha were the fourth day Lazarus was dead and Jesus arrived on the scene.  Both sisters said the same thing to begin with - "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:21, 32).  This statement by itself is not true.  John 4:43-53 speaks about a long-distance healing of an official's son who lay sick at least a day's walk away from where Jesus was staying.  The sick boy's father approached Jesus and pleaded with Him to come to where the child was, but Jesus stayed and said, "You may go. Your son will live."  The next verse I struggle with sometimes and I shouldn't - "The man took Jesus at His word and departed." (John 4:50).  However, the real zinger is the conversation Martha had with Jesus.

Jesus said to Martha "Your brother will rise again." (11:23).  She must have been well educated in eschatology because she says, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (11:24).  Although this gave credit to God's Word, the Word of God in flesh was standing before her.  She knew Jesus as Master and Teacher (Lord and Rabbi) in the brain - from all of her senses.  Now, in the next verse Jesus takes her to the next level.

  • "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?'" (John 11:25-26)

Martha finally gets it and says, "'Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.'" (11:27)

Jesus had the same kind of conversation with Martha's sister Mary.  His end statement was - "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? (John 11:40)

And it is no wonder Jesus had the daunting task of belief in Him as Christ (the Anointed One), The Messiah. The Jews were looking for militant relief or rescue from their Roman oppression, but Jesus visited humanity the first time just as the Scriptures foretold - as the suffering servant.  Even with this outlook by the Jewish people Jesus asked them to believe.

One other story I hear myself quoting from a lot is the Healing of a Boy with an Evil Spirit (Mark 9:21-24).  Jesus asked the boy's father, 'How long has he been like this?' 'From childhood,' he answered.  'It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.'  'If you can'?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for him who believes.'  Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'

That last underlined phrase is my plea for many areas in my life.  "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"  It screams of head-knowledge from here to eternity but little to no experience.  I desire so much to be a well-rounded Christian.  I want to be a Christian that is sound, experienced in every area and has faith that pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).  I guess I have not lived long enough and am a little impatient. 

For now I pray...Dear Lord, help me.  It seems like I have so much head-knowledge but I lack terribly in some areas concerning belief.  Help me to overcome my unbelief... realize who you said you were to Mary and Martha and me...and to take you at your Word!  In your name, Jesus, I pray, Amen.