RSS

Tag Archives: John

Nicodemus Part 3 — John 19:38-42

John 19:38-42
Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

Dear God, this is the story that made me love and appreciate Nicodemus. John seems to have a soft spot in his heart for Nicodemus (and Pilate for that matter, but that is a subject for another prayer journal). John 3 never references anyone being with Jesus and Nicodemus but Jesus, although it’s feasible that John and some other disciples could have been there. But the story in chapter 7 about Nicodemus trying to passively defend Jesus must have been relayed to John by someone else. Perhaps Nicodemus himself after Jesus’s death and resurrection. I assume John and Nicodemus had a personal relationship. Otherwise, why would John be the only Gospel writer to mention him? And why did he go to great pains in chapters 7 and 19 to not only call Nicodemus by name, but intentionally reference his conversation with Jesus in chapter 3?

So now for this story. Why do I like it so much? Mainly because It is Nicodemus at his lowest point, and yet he shows so much love for Jesus. His anger and anguish drives him into action. He loves this man he believed to be your Messiah, and he is going to show it to the world regardless of the consequences. And although we never read his name again after this story, I’m sure this act cost him his place in the temple and in the community. I would bet that this was his last Passover as a Pharisee.

Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away.

First, however, let’s talk about Joseph of Arimathea. Luke and Mark tell us that Joseph was a prominent member of the council, but he did not consent to the death sentence Jesus had received. He was a secret disciple of Jesus. Did he and Nicodemus know this about each other all along, or was this something they figured out over the previous 12 hours?

With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes.

John is careful to tell us that Nicodemus brought 75 pounds of perfumed ointment with him. I don’t know how this worked, but I would imagine they did the work right there at the foot of the cross. I would think that they would want to put the ointment on the body and wrap it up before they transported it to the tomb. I have this image in my mind of Nicodemus, grief stricken, disillusioned, and angry carrying this ointment in silence. Then he and Joseph take the body and start to handle the bloody mess. Where would you start? Blood would have to be everywhere. Did they clean the body with the ointment? But they did it.

Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth.

This is where I want to spend some time with the other Pharisees. This scene is amazing to me. I picture it completely silent except for hushed murmurs between the Pharisees, wondering what Joseph and Nicodemus were doing. And why were they doing it. Then I imagine no words between Joseph and Nicodemus themselves. Just looks. Glances. Tears. Confusion. I would imagine that the Pharisees were furious and there was hell to pay on Sunday–especially after the resurrection. Joseph was highly respected. Did his exhibited love for Jesus make any of them doubt? How about Nicodemus? Did his demonstration of discipleship and belief make them second guess their own beliefs, if only for a moment? Joseph and Nicodemus said more through their actions than they could ever have said through words.

The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

I wonder what it was like that night and the rest of the Sabbath and Passover for both Nicodemus and Joseph. Were they afraid? If not for their lives, for their careers and standing in the community? Did they talk to their wives? Their children? Were their families mad at them, or had they already told them how they felt about Jesus? And what about after the resurrection? Did the two men who had lost their standing in the community as well as, likely, their livelihoods join “The Way?” Did Nicodemus and John become friends. Did Joseph get to know all of the apostles? So many unanswerable questions. But I am certain that they both had to pay a price. The questions is, how big?

Father, I have followed you in the past and been disappointed. Even now, part of my soul is comforted by you through these prayer journals. I find camaraderie with characters like Nicodemus. We are all sojourners on this road. We are community, even though 2,000 years separates our earthly lives. Thank you for that. Thank you for loving me even when I question you and half-heartedly acknowledge my love for you. Thank you for forgiving me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

Nicodemus Part 1
Nicodemus Part 2

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 4, 2019 in John, Nicodemus

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Nicodemus Part 2 — John 7:32, 45-52

John 7:32, 45-52
32 When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.

45 When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. 48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”
50 Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. 51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.
52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”

Dear God, I kind of missed something in yesterday’s journal that I want to touch on before I get into this passage today. What was the context within which Nicodemus talked to Jesus at night back in chapter 3? Well, according to John, Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover, and he had just cleared the temple of the money changers and such and had told the “Jews” who asked for a miracle that if they destroyed “this temple” he would raise it again in three days. Nicodemus was just trying to make sense of what he was seeing and hearing.

32 When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.

Now, for this part of the story, we find Nicodemus again. Jesus goes back to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles and he upsets the Pharisees. So much so that by the time we get to verse 32 they decide to send temple guards to arrest him.

45 When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. 48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”

It wasn’t that the guards couldn’t arrest Jesus. They intentionally chose not to. And they admitted as much to the Pharisees. And the Pharisees’ response? They basically tell the guards that God’s curse is on them and John tells us they ask an interesting question: “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him?” In showing their intellectual and spiritual superiority while shaming the guards, they push Nicodemus to a moral dilemma that pushes him just a little out of hiding.

50 Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. 51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.

No, it’s not the strongest defense in the world, but it’s enough of an admission of sympathy to reveal some of his inner feelings to his fellow Pharisees. He’s been completely in the closet up until now. He met with Jesus in chapter 3 at night, when no one knew about it. But now he couldn’t keep silent any longer. He was trying to do it in a way that wouldn’t completely reveal his hand. He brought in “the law.” But just saying even the slightest thing in Jesus’s defense provoked their wrath.

52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”

The Pharisees are so flabbergasted by Nicodemus’s defense of Jesus that they accuse him of being a “homer.” They see that he has sympathy for Jesus and their only explanation is to accuse him not of believing in Jesus, but of hoping for the best for him for other emotional reasons.

So in looking back on this story, Nicodemus is on a journey of faith. He is working it out with literal fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). He tested the waters in this story, and he got smacked down. Did he fail Jesus? Perhaps? Did he ultimately decided on this day to save his own skin rather than argue with his colleagues? Yes. But he definitely progressed on his journey. He hadn’t arrived yet. He hadn’t entered into a stage of worship that would cause him to risk it all out of his love for you and belief in Jesus. He did, however, grow and prepare himself for a day that would ask more from him.

Father, help me to be a little better today than I was yesterday. Help me to have eyes to see my own weaknesses and address them. Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

Nicodemus Part 1
Nicodemus Part 3

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 4, 2019 in John, Nicodemus

 

Tags: , , ,

Nicodemus Part 1 — John 3:1-21

John 3:1-21 [NLT]
There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”
3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
9 “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.
10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? 11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

Dear God, I want to take apart this conversation a little bit because I think it is important that John is the only Gospel writer who told us about Nicodemus. There is obviously something about him that John wants us to know. Much like good story telling, I think one of the things John is doing is giving us something early in the story that he will pay off in the end at the crucifixion.

So let’s start at the beginning:

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

John sets up that Nicodemus is one of the dreaded Pharisees that are so ridiculed throughout the Gospels, but he immediately lets us know there is something different about this one. He didn’t come to publicly challenge, trap, and, hopefully, humiliate and disprove Jesus. He came to get to know him a little. He came with an open mind. He came to learn. And he doesn’t lead with a question. He comes “after dark” to speak directly with Jesus, one-on-one, and acknowledges that he recognizes that Jesus is from God.

3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

According to John’s account, Jesus immediately initiates the conversation, ignoring the flattery that Nicodemus gave him. He seems to want to challenge Nicodemus–to test him and see why he is really there.

We take the phrase “born again” and put it into the context of this passage, but Nicodemus didn’t have this passage. He was really trying to understand. Jesus is like one of those teachers who asks the vague, esoteric question that is hard to answer, or, in this case, says the provocative thing that will either send someone away or draw them in deeper. In this case, he drew Nicodemus in. Jesus had a lot more to say, but he wanted to first know if Nicodemus was ready to hear it. Would he scoff at Jesus’s statement and leave, or was he really there to learn? Apparently, Nicodemus was there to learn.

5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
9 “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

Water and Spirit. That’s the answer to Nicodemus’s question. Jesus acknowledges that, no, you can’t go back into your mother’s womb, but there is a new baptism that is of water and the Spirit. The problem is, the concept of being born of the Spirit is something that can’t be explained in words. So Jesus tells him that being born again means being born of water and the Spirit, but it’s a process that Jesus can’t put into words. But Nicodemus doesn’t give up. He wants to understand: “How are these things possible?”

10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? 11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

I’m going to break Jesus’s little speech to Nicodemus up into parts. I think this first part is about setting the context. Jesus is basically saying forthrightly to Nicodemus, “I am the Messiah.” Skipping verses 10-12 where he exhibits his exasperation with Nicodemus, Jesus goes on in verse 13 to say that he has come from God in heaven. Then in verse 14 he compares himself with the snake that was sent to save the Israelites from their sin and the snake bites that resulted in Numbers 21:4-9. But then he says that he, Jesus, will be the one lifted up so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

We never get Nicodemus’s reaction to this little speech, but I can only imagine what it was like to hear it in that context. Who does this guy think he is? On the other hand, Nicodemus entered this conversation earnestly trying to get an answer to that question, and now he was getting it. This guy claims to be the Messiah.

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Now Jesus gives us a glimpse into your heart. You love us. How much? Well, so much that you gave us Jesus, your one and only son, so that we would have the opportunity to commune with you for eternity. Your heart is to give us a pathway to salvation. He is saying, “Nicodemus, you need to understand that this God that you worship as all powerful is everything you can imagine and so much more. But don’t miss this one fact that might be hard to believe. He loves you and he wants you. He loves and wants you so much that he sacrificed for it. God gave out of his own being and love just so that you and your fellow humans, Jew or Gentile, will be with him.”

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

And finally, the wrap-up. You are doing your best to not judge me, but I have to at least love the light more than the darkness. I have to let go of my sin. I have to take the hand that is reaching out to me. You care about me, but as much as Nicodemus had to come to terms with his pride, as a Pharisee and as a man, so I must come to the end of my own pride and love the light more than the darkness.

Father, help me to not only internalize the words that John shared in this passage, but to reflect them to the world as well. Help me to be your ambassador. Help me to take your hand, receive your light, and the humbly share it with the world.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

Nicodemus Part 2
Nicodemus Part 3

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 3, 2019 in John, Nicodemus

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Passion Week – The Resurrection of Christ: John 20:1-10

The above image is from Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups by Ned Bustard. It is titled “Christ Risen” and was created by Edward Knippers.

John 20:1-10 [ESV]
And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’s head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Dear God, I’m so grateful this morning. I’ve spent the week trying to sink into the depths of this Passion. Sure, I didn’t really go all the way. I had work. I had other things that took my attention. But I can say that this is likely the most thoughtful I’ve ever been about Holy Week. And here we are.

When I woke up this morning and made my breakfast, I played four songs. “Sunday’s on the Way” by Carman, “He’s Alive” by Don Francisco, “Easter Song” by Keith Green, and then “Gotta Tell Somebody” by Don Francisco. The first three were about Easter and Jesus’s resurrection in one way or another while the fourth was about a grateful father who just had to tell somebody what Jesus did for him. It was fun and worshipful. You are alive! And you have done great things for me.

Father do I “gotta tell somebody?” Have I counted my blessings and shared your greatness and mercy with others? Do I live with the joy that you are alive? Help me to do better. Live through me. Love through me. Let you kingdom come and your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Passion Week – The Crucifixion: John 19:23-30 / “Thief” by Third Day

The above image is from Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups by Ned Bustard. The image itself is called “The Crucifixion” as was created by Eric Gill.

John 19:23-30 [ESV]
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said ( to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Dear God, I spent some time with this image this morning before I left town for the day, and I’ve thought about it a lot since then. Now, its late in the evening and my wife has gone to bed. I have some time to really sit with it and consider what Eric Gill wanted to share.

  • Jesus is obviously the focus of the image. He has the halo around him that Catholics and some others put around Saints and the Holy Family. He looks thin. He has his thorn of crowns. He is totally naked, but Gill gives him some modesty by covering him with someone’s outstretched hands. Could this be Jesus’s mother helping to cover her boy?
  • It appears that three women have the halo as well. One has her face hidden and the other two are shown. Is this Gill showing us Mary, Jesus’ mother, Mary’s sister, and Mary Magdalene?
  • There is one man in the picture. Is this John? He is standing near the three women, so I would say it is probably John, readying to take care of Jesus’s mother.
  • Oh, there are two other men in the picture too. One is on the cross on the left and the other on the right. The one on the left is only shone by his face, but he has the Saint halo. There are five haloed people in this image, and he is one of them. The other man on the cross is shown not only with no halo, but his nakedness is shown as well. Gill allowed Jesus and the other dying man some modesty, but to the man who mocked Jesus Gill gave a complete humiliation.
  • Gill included the writing at the top of Jesus’s cross, and he gives us the version of the cross that looks more like a capital “T” than a lowercase “t.”

Last night, I sat with the image of the last supper. Now, this image shows the culmination of what happened over the next 18 hours. It happened that fast. No due process. No jury of peers. Just humiliation and death.

I was talking with my dad this evening about how sometimes the plan we would lay out on paper is the wrong plan, and the plan that will accomplish your actual will looks terrible on paper. I would say that this whole thing with Jesus is a prime example of that.

Then there is the haloed man on the cross to Jesus’s right. While I was driving today, I heard a song I hadn’t heard in about 20 years. It’s called “Thief” and is by Third Day.

“Thief” by Third Day

I am a thief, I am a murderer
Walking up this lonely hill
What have I done? No, I don’t remember
No one knows just how I feel
And I know that my time is coming soon

It’s been so long, oh, such a long time
Since lived with peace and rest
Now I am here, my destination
I guess things work for the best
And I know that my time is coming soon

Who is this man? This man beside me
They call the King of the Jews
They don’t believe that He’s the Messiah
But somehow, I know that it’s true

They laugh at Him in mockery
And they beat Him ’til He bleeds
And they nail Him to the rugged cross
They raise Him, yeah, they raise Him up next to me

My time has come and I’m slowly fading
I deserve what I receive
Jesus when You are in Your kingdom
Could You please, please remember me?

And He looks at me still holding on
The tears fall from His eyes
And He says I tell the truth
Today, you will be with Me in paradise

And I know that my time, yes my time is coming soon
And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon
And I know Paradise, Paradise is coming soon

Songwriters: Bradley B. C. Avery / David Carr / Johnny Mac Powell / Mark D. Lee / Samuel Tai Anderson

Father, in the end, so much happened in 18 hours. The world changed in 18 hours. All of human time and space changed in 18 hours. Mercy came to the world in those 18 hours. And the plan looked absolutely terrible on paper, but it’s exactly what we needed. We needed our Passover Lamb. I needed a Passover Lamb. I needed mercy. I needed grace. I needed freedom. And the sacrifice all came in these 18 hours. But at this point on that Friday night, the plan looked like it had all fallen apart. We just never know what you’re up to. They didn’t know it then, and I don’t know it now. But I trust you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Mary & Martha — John 11:28-29

John 11:28-29 [NLT]
Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” So Mary immediately went to him.

Dear God, I’m reading A LOT into this story, and I might be way off base on some of it, but I’m trying to get a feel for why Martha went to see Jesus without Mary the first time. Martha was doing a lot of walking here, going back and forth. And why did Jesus stay where he was instead of going with Martha to the house? Was he trying to avoid all of the mourners as long as he could?

I have never had to face a significant loss like Martha and Mary did here. The closest I’ve come is a mother-in-law nine years ago and my grandparents in my 20s. I would imagine, however, that my response would be much like Martha’s. I would want to keep in motion. I would want to take charge and do the work that needs done. I’m not sure how I would process the mourning part of the experience.

Father, Mary has always been the one held up to us as an example and Martha the cautionary tale. I do think Martha has her good points, however. I just think she needed to be a little more well-rounded. Of course, Mary did too. But Mary allowed herself to grieve. She allowed herself to sit at Jesus’ feet. She allowed herself to give the perfume. Help me to reach that level of sensitivity, generosity, and peace.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 10, 2019 in John, Mary & Martha

 

Tags: , , ,

Mary & Martha — John 11:21-23, 29-35

John 11:21-23,29-35 [NLT]
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” So Mary immediately went to him. Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept.

Dear God, it is interesting that John records both Martha and Mary as having said the same thing to Jesus when they first saw him: “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” I would imagine they had been saying that to each other for the last four days. Were they angry with Jesus? Were they disappointed?

Martha adds something to hers. She adds a little expectation: “But even now I know God will give you whatever you ask.” (Hint, hint) And Jesus seems to take the bait and tells her that her brother will rise again.

But his response to Mary is different. Martha was seemingly a little bit more reserved emotionally than Mary. The way this story is told, her words to Jesus were from a place of sorrow, but she was also likely a little more stoic. Mary, on the other hand, was weeping. I imagine her sentence being said to Jesus between sobs. In fact, these are the only words Mary speaks in the whole story. And the people seem to be with Mary, comforting her, instead of with Martha. John’s telling doesn’t really mention anyone following Martha around, but Mary probably came across as being more in need. Certainly, watching Mary’s response evoked a surprising response in Jesus—weeping and anger.

Father, I’m not sure if there are too many applications in this story in my life except to appreciate how different we all are. Martha and Mary were very different people and had different needs. They also evoked different responses out of the people around them. And you loved them both. Thank you for loving me as well, even though I am sometimes a terrible mess. Your patience with me is extraordinary, and I am grateful for all that you do for me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 9, 2019 in John, Mary & Martha

 

Tags: , , , ,