Day 33 (March 29), John 11:28-37

John 11:28-37

Context:  Jesus completes his initial conversation with Martha who then goes into the village and lets Mary know ‘The Teacher’ has arrived.  As she is going to meet him, a number of the Jewish mourners assume she is going to the tomb (which typically would have been a hewn-out cave in a garden outside the village) and follow along.  As soon as Mary sees Jesus, she falls at his feet and says the same thing Martha said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’  Jesus is deeply troubled (agitated) in spirit.  He weeps, but not the expressing wailing and grieving that the crowd and Mary were doing.  Theirs is ‘klaio’, which can also be translated ‘lament.’  His is ‘dakryo’ and implies ‘shedding of tears’ with lesser outward expression but a deeply passionate and more internal grief.   

Observations:   The passage says Mary ‘rose quickly’ to meet Jesus outside the village.  What does that indicate about her and about their friendship?  Mary repeats the same statement to Jesus as Martha … what do you think is her motivation and disposition in saying so?  Why was Jesus so ‘deeply troubled’ in His spirit?  Why did he weep (shed tears) in a different way (loud, expressive lamenting) than the others?  In the last verse of this section, the crowd expresses the ‘white elephant’ in the room, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?’

Application:  Do you ‘rise quickly’ to meet Jesus?  Do you feel the freedom to express your feelings to the Lord?  Doing those two things on a regular basis will help a LOT toward a healthy, consistent encounter with Jesus.  There’s a third, and absolutely essential, element:  listening to Jesus’ response and then acting on it.  Notice how Mary did all three and put those into practice today!!   

Prayer:  Lord, help us to ‘go quickly’ to you.  Help us to make you the ‘first choice’ when we face circumstances outside our control (physical, health, societal, economic, etc.), then put wise, sound and pragmatic things into play to be part of the solution.  Help us to make those latter things supplements, not substitutes, for you.  Help us WORSHIP you, and use those other things as tools.  Amen.

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Day 32 (March 28), John 11:17-27

John 11:17-27

Context:  Jesus delays, then leaves the region of Perea (where John had been baptizing) only to arrive in Bethany (Bethphage) after Lazarus had been entombed for four days.  The Jews buried their dead on the day they died, so most likely it took Jesus two days to travel.  Upon arrival he witnesses many people comforting the sisters in typical Jewish fashion, far more expressive and longer than our culture’s.  Martha goes to greet Jesus and  states that had he been there Lazarus would not have died; Jesus points her to the resurrection miracle soon to come. 

Observations:   Was Martha disappointed and upset with Jesus' ‘late’ arrival?  Or simply stating the reality of the situation from her own perspective?  Jesus gives her a promise of Lazarus’ resurrection; Martha takes it as the future life in heaven, Jesus means it as a physical resurrection and divine miracle.  Jesus asks Martha, ‘Do you believe (that I am the resurrection and the life)?’  What do you think of her response?

Application:  Try to be more honest with God.  Do you feel he has let you down, disappointed you or even not cared about you?  Fill in the blanks from YOUR perspective:  ‘Jesus, if ___________________  then this _____________ would not have happened.’  Think of something you think God could and should have prevented or, at the very least, should have intervened in and stopped.  Apply what happens in this story and what the Scriptures teach about God’s unfailing love to your circumstances and feelings. 

Prayer:  Jesus, help me be more honest and transparent with you … then help me to see things from YOUR perspective, not just mine.  Help me, like Martha, believe: ‘Even now I know that whatever you, Jesus, ask of God, God will give you.’  Help our church Body to collectively work through our pain and disappointments throughout the past few weeks.

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