For the audio version: https://youtu.be/zO-y6-KF7oo
Prepare to Listen. Remind yourself of God’s promise: I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8)
Prayerfully Read John 11:38-44
38Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.’ 40Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’
44The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’
When Martha protested Jesus’ command to remove the stone from Lazarus’ tomb (he’d been dead for four days; the stench would be unbearable), Jesus gently rebuked her. “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Just a short while earlier Martha had confessed, “Lord, I believe.” It didn’t take her long to discover that it’s one thing to say, ‘I believe,’ and another to practice it. Martha expected a resurrection of her brother on the last day. She didn’t expect his return to life that very day. She didn’t anticipate Jesus’ power over death and her brother’s restoration right away. She’s not unlike many of us today who minimize Jesus’ power over life and death and fail to fully believe and trust him. It’s not that Martha’s belief (or ours) has any power in and of itself. The power is entirely in Jesus.
Belief in Jesus’ power will do two things for us as we continue to experience hardships, such as the unrelieved covid-19 suffering. First, if we believe it will give us the comfort that comes from hope in Christ’s power to act as and when he sees fit. Second, belief will enable us to see God’s glory; to see beyond the mess around us to God’s quiet work in our midst. However, to see we must first “take away the stone,” that thing, whatever it is, that keeps us trapped in unbelief. If we believe, that is, trust fully in Christ, then we’ll see, wherever and whenever he chooses to act.
What’s the ‘stone’ that you need to remove today to see God’s glory?
Respond to Jesus
My belief is often like Martha’s, easy to say but difficult to live. Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Take away the stone.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.