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17 So when Jesus arrived, He found that he [Lazarus] had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away, 19 And a considerable number of the Jews had gone out to see Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, He will grant it to You. 23 Jesus said to her, Your brother shall rise again. 24 Martha replied, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said to her, I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live; 26 And whoever continues to live and believes in (has faith in, cleaves to, and relies on) Me shall never [actually] die at all. Do you believe this? 27 She said to Him, Yes, Lord, I have believed [I do believe] that You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), the Son of God, [even He] Who was to come into the world. [It is for Your coming that the world has waited.] 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, privately whispering to her, The Teacher is close at hand and is asking for you. John 11:17-28 AMPC
When Jesus arrived, Lazarus was already dead and embalmed. Buried in his tomb. God loves to show up when the situation is beyond our abilities. When it looks impossible… because it is, without Him. So many times we call on God from a place of entitlement because we feel we’ve been ‘extra faithful’ to God. Mary was a dear friend of Jesus. She’s the modern day poster girl for true worship. She probably felt somewhat entitled to an immediate response from Jesus. You see, when we’re feeling entitled, then God doesn’t show up exactly how and when we want, it can lead to anger and disillusionment.
So when we finally see God working in the midst of our situation, we give Him the ‘cold shoulder’. There’s no excitement that God has come to rescue us. Because as fas as we’re concerned, He’s late! He came waltzing in when things were already too far gone… totally irreparable. We give no praise, no thanksgiving. After all He’s just giving us what we’re due right? We’re just getting what’s rightfully ours! It’s dangerous to become so deluded that we really think God owes us anything.
It seems that Mary was experiencing exactly that. The poisonous mix of entitlement and disappointment in God. Martha had already learned her lesson the last time Jesus was at her house. She missed the opportunity to sit at His feet. To revel in His presence. She made the mistake of valuing something else over the greatest treasure of all. So this time, she ran out to meet Jesus when word came that He’d arrived. Mary stayed home. Of course Martha wished Jesus had come sooner. That her brother hadn’t died. And she told Jesus that. But she still believed that the situation was not beyond repair. She knew that her breakthrough had just shown up in town! She knew that all hope was not lost. Because her only hope was standing right in front of her! Martha needed resurrection. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection”. Jesus is the answer to every impossible situation we face.
God wants us to have faith that defies logic. He wants us to stand firm in the knowledge of who He is no matter what. When Jesus declared Himself to be the Resurrection, Martha professed her faith in Him. Then she went to call Mary, to tell her that Jesus had come and was asking for her. Sometimes when we’re disappointed with God, we need someone whose faith is strong to come back and call us. We need someone who’s had an encounter with God to remind us of who He is. To assure us that He’s near. To point us to the only One who can set things right, according to His perfect will.
God help us when we feel entitled, to remember that in Your grace and mercy, You don’t give us what we rightfully deserve. Because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross, we received grace instead of the wages of our sin. Forgive us of the times we’ve been ungrateful for Your blessings. For the times we’ve withheld our praise. Help us to remind each other of Your character, so that we’ll trust that You’re good. Help us to share our stories and not hide in shame. Help us to point each other to You, Lord. To remind each other that You’re calling us… closer to Yourself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.