From glory to glory !
Jn.11:32, ‘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.”.”’
Here we are with a familiar family of Lazarus, who had two sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus loved this family and He often spent His time with them whenever He visited Bethany. One day, Lazarus fell sick, so much so that he was close to death and the word was sent to Jesus about the same. Jesus purposely delayed His visit to Bethany so that He could display His glory and power . Later, He rose up Lazarus from the dead & proved His authority over death. We all know this story very well, but let’s now ponder about a few things which the Lord Himself has revealed through this passage.
Lets focus on the two sisters, Martha and Mary. Lets learn from their response and their consequences. Both these sisters reacted almost similarly when Jesus came to Bethany after the death of their brother, Lazarus. In verses 20 and 29, we see these sisters rising up to go and meet Jesus as soon as they heard that He had come. Both of them did not loose any time in the process. They were quick and spontaneous in their response to go to Jesus. In verse 21, Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. …’ In v 32, Mary said the same thing to Jesus. But Jesus was moved and touched by the response of Mary more than Martha’s. What was the difference which Jesus saw in Mary ?
Martha had expressed her faith in Christ very openly. She had said the same thing what Mary said. Jn.11:23-24, ‘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.”’ But yet, she was unable to understand exactly what Christ wanted to communicate to her. She said that she knew about resurrection at the last day. Martha thought that she knew but the fact was she had not known in the way the Lord wanted her to know. Many of us know much about the Bible, but its sad to see that often this head knowledge becomes an obstacle for Christ to perform great things in our lives. Our God is a great God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the creator of all things, seen and unseen. No man can ever know Him completely even if he or she studies volumes of books written about Him. But often the knowledge we have often makes us think that we know how and what exactly God would do. This is in fact unbelief and not the complete trust. Mary on the other hand fell down at the feet of Jesus and wept. She trusted Him completely. She had expressed her faith like Martha saying that Lazarus would not have died if Jesus would have been there. But that was not the end of her trust. She also expected something new from the Lord and she expressed her hearts desires through weeping and falling at His feet. Her knowledge about Christ was nothing before Him now. She did not claim anything about her knowledge. She was empty and submitted her emptiness at His feet. This touched the heart of Jesus. He wept & groaned in Spirit and was troubled. Soon, He enquired for the tomb where Lazarus was laid and rose Him up from the dead. Complete trust includes believing all that we have seen and heard from the Lord thus far & also giving room to the fact that anything new which we have not yet known or seen is expected. Mary had never seen the dead rising to life before, but the realization of who Jesus is enabled her to expect something new.
Lk.10:39, ‘ And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at [k]Jesus’ feet and heard His word.’ Here, we see this same Mary hearing His word. She gave her time to hear the word from Jesus, so much so that she even forgot to help her laboring sister Martha. Surely she had learnt much from the Lord. But when her brother died, she chose to unlearn what she had learnt and thus humbled herself to see greater things from the Lord. If we are ready to admit that all that we know about Christ is nothing, He is willing to fill us with new revelations about Him. As apostle Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:17, ‘….. that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, ….’ . We need both knowledge and revelation about Christ. Revelation is something which was hidden to our eyes before and this is received only when we humble ourselves before the Lord, considering that our knowledge about Him gained thus far is nothing. Revelations are revealed to yearning hearts. Martha had the knowledge but Mary aspired for both knowledge and revelation.
Jn.12:2-3, ‘There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.’ Later on, just before the Passover, Jesus again visited the house of Lazarus. Martha continued to serve Jesus, just as she did before but Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with costly oil of spikenard. Later, Jesus revealed that Mary did it for His burial(v 7). Mary had received the revelation about the approaching death of Christ and did this costly ministry which received the approval of the Lord Himself. From a girl who sat at the feet of the Lord to hear His Word, the Lord lifted up Mary to serve Christ through a costly ministry. Its because she always humbled herself and yearned to receive new revelations about Christ. She was never satisfied with what she knew about the Lord. The Lord always satisfies a thirsty soul. Hence, Mary grew spiritually and thus grew deeper in her ministry too. On the other hand, Martha had knowledge about Christ and her ‘I know’ attitude often stopped her from aspiring from having more of Christ. Thus she continued to do the same ministry of serving.
The only way to grow in the Lord is to submit all that we are and all that we know as a ‘big zero’ before the Lord. This causes a great thirst to arise within our hearts to know Him more and more, to love Him more and more and to serve Him more and more. This transforms us and also the ministry which the Lord does through us.
Phil.3:7, ‘But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.’ Apostle Paul, who was a Pharisee and an expert in the law, counted all His knowledge about God as a loss when He received the revelation about Christ. He thus was gifted with the deepest wisdom and revelation about Christ whom he served fervently all the rest of the days of his life. He was willing to unlearn all that he had learnt and submitted himself to learn afresh from Christ. His humbleness caused his exaltation in ministry.
Dear friends, its time to leave the stagnancy in our spiritual life. God wants us to grow, for growth is the sure sign of life and life in abundance. Let’s confess that we have touched only the tip of the iceberg. A major chunk of the greatness of our Lord’s love and power is still unrevealed to us. We have not yet known Him in the way which we ought to know. The Lord seeks those who seek Him with all one’s heart and He reveals Himself to them. Jer.29:13, ‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.’ Knowing Christ as our Lord and saviour is a glorious experience, but yearning & receiving new and deeper revelations about Him is a much more glorious experience. As we thirst more and more of Him, the Lord lifts us up from glory to glory. This strengthens our inner man with spiritual strength to run the race of faith faithfully without getting weary. May the lord strengthen us all to continue to seek Him with all our heart.
God bless us all
Ask for a hard thing !
2 Kings 2:9-10, ‘And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10 So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see […]
A message about Arising. We are the chosen few from the world we see today, being a Christian is not just a journey to a “church”, it is a lifestyle, a lifestyle that influences positively the people closest around us, and knowing that we are living each day from a position of authority, not by our works but a privilege free given.
Message From The Word – Dr. Mandela Chowambe – 17th May 2019
There are times when life is overwhelming, when all we have is questions. In those moments, hope can feel far away. The great thing about prayer is that it shifts our perspective toward the One who stands ready to listen. No matter what you’re facing, we’d love to pray with you!