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Workers & Resters

John 11:5 & John 11:20-43

"5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."

" 20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 "But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." 23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." 28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, "The Teacher has come and is calling for you." 29 As soon as she heard [that], she arose quickly and came to Him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town but was in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, "She is going to the tomb to weep there." 32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." 33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!" 37 And some of them said, "Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?" 38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been [dead] four days." 40 Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" 41 Then they took away the stone [from the place] where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up [His] eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 "And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said [this], that they may believe that You sent Me." 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!”’

v. 5: Jesus Love all three of the siblings- He loved the worker, He loved the learner, He loved the sick and the dead

v. 20 “met” is the Greek word # 5221- “ "hypantaō “ it actually implies a hostile meeting. Martha went to Jesus with “a bone to pick.” Martha states that if Jesus would have been there, then her brother would not have died. This is true and Jesus-although not physically there in the flesh- was there as God and through the love that He had for the siblings. Martha then does not come right out and ask Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead. She implies that is what she wants Jesus to do by asking His Father God. The lesson here is that when you are a worker- working “for” God as opposed to “with” God, you become a complainer and grumbler and  you become self-righteous. {See Luke 10:40} When this happens, you believe that God “owes” you and so it is easy to become hostile toward Him when you fail to see a manifestation the way that “you” thought it would manifest. 

Jesus responds to Martha with the love that is said He had for her in v.5 by discerning the desire of her heart. Immediately Martha had a hard time receiving the goodness of the Lord in its purity and simplicity and again wanted clarity and a clear path of how this would happen. The bottom line is that she did not believe that Jesus would raise her brother from the dead that day, but it would happen at the resurrection of all of the dead for the judgement. This is what happens to those who strive for their salvation- it does not matter if the striving is little or great, eventually the person will believe that the goodness of God will only manifest after death- in Heaven as it were. It is almost impossible for those with this mindset to believe that Jesus is the answer today as well as forever in a very real, and tangible way. Jesus told Martha here in v.25 that He is the resurrection- meaning that she thought He wasn’t actually there when Lazarus died but since He is God, He was there as He is everywhere. Further, that if you have Jesus, you have the resurrection- you don’t have to wait for some other thing to happen- through Him all things consist. We can view this same attitude today in the hearts of those who “work” for their salvation - They believe they are not good enough for God’s grace here on this earth, in this life and so they have to “make it” to Heaven and once there, then they can experience the full goodness of God- Well they are right that they are not good enough- not on their own- no one is but we are not on our own. Believers are new creations that Jesus lives in and moves through. 

    Martha was a believer in Christ, but she still could not accept the things which Jesus said to her-therefore, the desire of her heart and her inability to believe that God loved her in spite of herself drove her away from Jesus at this critical moment and to lie to her sister Mary. Martha went back to the house and told a lie to Mary that Jesus was asking for her- we have no record of this request. The truth is that Martha believed truly that Jesus loved her sister more than He loved her because she, Martha, held herself accountable for any sins or shortcomings. So she was a grasshopper in her own sight! She hid behind whom she believed to be “closer” and “more favored” of God. This is exactly what happens today…. those who consistently display good “works” to “prove” their righteousness end up asking those who “rest” in the Lord for prayer and direction in a crisis. The “workers” do not spend time with God therefore they do not know His heart on things and they certainly do not feel comfortable turning over the desires of their hearts to Him. 

    Mary responds to the lie Martha told her because she wants Jesus and believed that He was calling for her. Now, Mary and Martha say exactly the same words to Jesus once they are in His presence, but Mary does it from a humble position on the ground. v.32 illuminates that Mary fell down and worshipped Jesus. Then we see that Jesus groans in His spirit. He did this for two reasons. First, He did it because groaning- that cannot be uttered is a prayer of the Spirit. This prayer was elicited out of Jesus’ Spirit because of the pain that Mary was experiencing- in this way, the Holy Spirit was comforting Mary by taking hold together with  her against the situation. He was feeling what she felt. Further, Jesus groaned in His Spirit in frustration. He was frustrated at the Jews who did not believe in Him, who did not accept that He was the resurrection. As was the case with Martha, Jesus did not require her to fully grasp the concept of his being the resurrection, but she did have to believe that He was the Christ- the Jews didn’t even have this belief. Finally, after Jesus arrives at the tomb, we see Martha’s doubt and unbelief present itself again. Jesus commanded the stone be rolled away- this was the command that was given first to prove that those around believed Lazarus would yet live and it was God’s way of working “with” His creation to bring about this result. Martha, when at first hears the directive given by Jesus protests due to natural barriers. She displays her disbelief by veiling it in reasonable hinderances to the manifestation of the promise of God. Jesus again shows her love by telling her essentially that the natural reactions -the stench of a decomposing body in this case- bear no weight in manifesting what God has promised and the promise of God will come to pass if the stone that the humans placed is removed- this is an act of faith. In all manifestations of the will of God, there is an action required of the human involved because God works “with” His creation not “for” His creation in a reciprocal relationship. We work “with” Him and not “for” Him. We have to remove the stone of unbelief, the stone of human wisdom, the stone of human excuses for death, destruction, and theft so that God can manifest. The removing of the stone of unbelief is our part, the manifestation is His part. 

    Often when we present the Lord with a desire of our heart, He will tell us to do this or that if we obey, then the desire of our heart will come to pass, if we do not obey then it will not come to pass for us. Through it all, however the love of God toward those who are His manifests through His grace by Him constantly talking us through things that we do not understand to get us to a place of simply believing that Jesus is the Messiah - this is the mustard seed sized faith that we need to watch the mountains move, and the dead walk again!!

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