On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “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. Do you believe this?”
- It may have been a tense meeting when Jesus came upon Martha, who was in mourning over her brother, Lazarus. How do you imagine she sounded in saying, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died”?
- Martha had great faith in what Jesus could have done. But perhaps she was bitter at what he had not done. Do you ever ask God why he did not act a certain way or why some prayers seem to go unanswered?
- Although Lazarus has died, Jesus promises that he will rise again. What do you think Martha thought Jesus was saying?
- Jesus often goes against expectations in how he responds, and certainly does so when he says, “I am the resurrection.” What do you think Jesus means when he says that? What is resurrection?
ARISE & SHINE
While there was debate on the topic, some Jews believed that there would be a bodily resurrection of the dead on the last day. It was a distant hope that Jesus draws miraculously into the present. He reveals his power in raising Lazarus from the dead, but the truly wonderful event is when Jesus himself was raised from the dead, defeating death in the process. His resurrection secures for us the life he has promised. Jesus is what Paul calls in 1 Corinthians the “firstfruits.” His resurrection comes first, and all who are in Christ will share his future, too.