“Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’”
John: 11:21 (ESV)
How many times have we said those words to Jesus?
Jesus, if you had been here, my family would still be together.
Jesus, if you had been here, they wouldn’t have hurt me.
Jesus, if you do this for me, I’ll follow you.
Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were siblings. Jesus called them his friends and he loved them. When Lazarus became sick, word was sent to Jesus (who was only a few miles away), that the one he loved was dying and to come. But Jesus did not come and Lazarus died. When Jesus finally did come to town four days later, Martha ran out to meet Him, but Mary stayed home. Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead for four days before he raised him from the dead. Was he being indifferent and callous to their pain? Was he thinking, “I’ll just let them twist in the wind a little while longer?” Not at all! He knew when the time was ripe to reveal his character and an eternal principle.
“Lord, Martha said, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus responded to Martha’s “if you” by turning it back to her– Martha, “If you believe, you will see the Glory of God.” Not, “if you believe I’ll raise Lazarus from the dead.” Yes! resurrecting Lazarus would reveal the glory of God, but Jesus doesn’t work in isolated incidents. He has the big picture. He knows our story from the beginning, the middle and how to get us to the end.
Practical Application: Are you, or do you know someone, who is ripe for Jesus to step into their life? What will our response be when we are in the ripeness of the moment? Will we pass the buck with an “if you?” Will we stay away like Mary did, refusing to be comforted or comfort? Will we respond like Martha when Jesus was preparing to resurrect Lazarus—the matter has been dead too long, it smells, just let it be? Or will we will run to Jesus and let him reveal himself so we will believe with certainty? Jesus said: “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?”