Read John 11:21-27.
We often simply shrug off certain things Jesus does or says because “He’s the Son of God and is always right.” Indeed He is, but that doesn’t mean we should just read over things without paying deep attention to them. Here Jesus was talking to Martha, the sister of Lazarus and Mary. From our perspective, it seems like an incredibly nice story. Jesus comforts her by telling her Who He is, and then she openly admits He is the Messiah, not something many people did back then. (Most of us also already know that, a little while later, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.) It’s great.
But let’s keep in mind that back then, in the predominately Jewish population, the Messiah was the awaited Savior, held in the most holy respect. Also, remember that many of the religious leaders of the time refused to believe Jesus is the Messiah. Saying that He is the Christ, the Messiah, could lead to severe punishment and judgment from other people. But none of that mattered to Martha in light of the Savior.
Another thing is Martha was in mourning, as was most of their community. She would be emotional and distraught, but she appeared to be seeing more clearly than most people Jesus came in contact with. That also emphasizes another fact: this whole conversation took place on the road to a funeral. Martha left the gathering to meet Jesus on the road, and this conversation ensued. Amazing.
Sometimes we become very hesitant to share our faith with others, even though we have such a great and life-changing hope and joy in Jesus Christ. We try to make sure the timing is perfect, the circumstances are right, and the person is in the best state of mind to be accepting of the gospel. We, in essence, become micromanagers in our mission to spread God’s message. Look around. Think about your church, Christian retreats, and even those little salvation pamphlets people hand out. Every aspect, down to the smallest detail, has been scrutinized and perfected so as to have an optimum effect on the “audience.”
Now, look what Jesus did. He walked around from town to town with His little group of disciples and His followers. He didn’t have a house or RV or bank account. He didn’t use auditoriums or special techniques. He just told people the gospel in terms they could understand. He used metaphors and parables. He talked with people constantly, and He made friends. He was a friend of Lazarus’. Even look at what Jesus did here: Martha just lost her brother, was meeting Him on His way to the funeral, and was no doubt super depressed, disappointed, and sad. But Jesus spoke life into her. Jesus told her Who He is. Jesus saw what she needed most wasn’t her brother but Him.
We have over complicated the gospel to the point it is a near-meaningless ritual or a performance. We forget the life up-ending power, joy, hope, and new life of the gospel. What is the gospel? It’s the story of Jesus.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. People messed stuff up. We aren’t perfect and therefore cannot be in the presence of a holy God. God in His all-knowing justice knew we were guilty and the price had to be paid for our sin. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Yet even after we failed Him and chose to disobey and abandon Him, He still loved us. He sent His Son Jesus to earth to take our punishment on His shoulders. He lived a perfect life and died on the cross with our sins so we can be reconciled to God. Our loving Savior was then laid in a tomb. “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” Matthew 28:6. But three days later He rose from the grave, just like He and God foretold. He rose to new life, having defeated death and proving both that He is the Son of God and that He will raise everyone who believes in Him. “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.” John 6:47-48. He has given us eternal life with our loving God. “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’” John 14:23. He has also come into our hearts through the Holy Spirit of God, and we never have to be alone. And now that we believe in Him and are His followers He calls us to tell others about all that He’s done for us, for the whole world. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
He will also return for us one day. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’” Revelation 22:20.
How amazing is that? We are called to be Jesus’ witnesses. We are only supposed to tell people what we have heard or seen from Jesus. We aren’t called to be “professors” or “teachers” or even “experts,” just witnesses. We just have to be willing to tell others what we have experienced ourselves. Jesus does everything else. Have faith.
Thank You, Lord, that we don’t have to be perfect, because You are! You are the One Who saves us and redeems us! Thank You for this Lord, for all this You’ve done for the whole world. Thank You for dying for us Lord Jesus! And thank You for the empty grave! Please help us, remind us of those around us who need You. It’s not about us; it’s all about You! Please help us truly be Your witnesses and tell of all You’ve done for us! And let Your Name be made known over all the earth! Let Your kingdom come! And please keep us conscious of the fact everything is in Your hands, every outcome of witnessing, every situation in which we try to be a light, and every moment we are alive! In Lord Jesus Christ’s loving, awesome, amazing, and powerful Name i pray! Hallelujah! Praise the Savior; He is our Shepherd! Amen!
(This song is a personal favorite of mine. 🙂 )