Like the spring break exodus to the beach, it’s Passover time again and the Jews are heading to Jerusalem. They are gathering early to prepare themselves and wonder a bit if Jesus is going to show up. He is a growing topic of conversation – especially in J-Town where He once tossed the money-changers out of the Temple! Of course it is practically on the 6 o’clock news that if the Pharisees find him there will be an arrest. Drama is in the air!
Meanwhile “Jesus and Co.” are in Ephraim near the wilderness. He’s been on the down-low for a while but now He’s on the move. Bethany is a good stopping place on the way to Jerusalem. While He is there His best friends have a dinner party for him. I imagine the intent is an intimate gathering.
Martha is serving – that is her gift…meeting the practical needs of hungry men on a journey. Taking care of all the details so her guests and her family can be relaxed and comfortable. I’m sure she knows her brother Lazarus wants some time with Jesus.
I can’t quite fathom that relationship – Jesus and Lazarus. To be a person used to bring God glory…not to just see a miracle but to be a miracle. He was just a regular guy who got sick and now he is a living-breathing-walking miracle! Resurrected by Jesus… (Isn’t that what we all are? …all of us who believe in Jesus… resurrected miracles? Why does that seem so frightening to me this morning? To be honest I guess I fear the journey – succumbing to the illness, the dying, the darkness of oblivion behind that rock, the waiting, the unknowing. And those who will be touched by my circumstances – what about them – can I spare them their own dying?)
And here sits Jesus, knowing this is a stop on the way to His own death. He does not seem to be fearful. All I can think is “for the JOY set before Him…” It’s Hebrew 12:2-3: “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him …, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” And that is the prescription for my fear… “Consider Him”…for fearing eyes need to focus on the One who is able when I am so painfully aware that I am not.
Mary worships. That’s her gift. She is sensitive to spiritual things – tender things. Mary is a worship leader. She expresses her own gratitude in her own way but the aroma fills the house. She is extravagant and tactile and open and unaware of anyone except the object of her praise. Mary’s heart is focused. She is my gentle reminder to point my fearful heart toward Him.
There is an interesting contrast here between Martha, the ever practical, and Judas, the deceiver who is trying to act practical. Judas is offended by Mary’s worship. Martha is not. There is community when our gifts are displayed in the service of Jesus…different ways but the same goal. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” (I Cor.12:4-6)
Jesus knows Judas is the betrayer. He knows Judas is a faker but He doesn’t send him away. He just corrects him and gently warns, “you will not always have me with you.” As if to say there is time…there is still time for you Judas…don’t let it slip away.
Now here is the fallout of being a walking miracle associated with Jesus. Lazarus gets put on the hit list. A lot of people are coming to see Jesus and Lazarus too and they were “believing in Jesus.” The threat to the “powers that be” is getting out of hand. It needs to be nipped in the bud. (I love that Lazarus’ did not fall into the celebrity trap. That’s something worth remembering.)
He is worthy of my trust in Him.
When I am afraid …“consider Him”.
About the World?
Life in this world is treacherous – don’t go it alone.