Monday, December 1, 2008

the depths yet discovered...

this morning, i was reading in john 11. it is the story of the death of lazarus. this is a very familiar story to me, i grew up in church hearing it, it was my brother's favorite Bible story growing up and of course carmen had a song about it (oh what would christian subculture be without carmen). this morning as i examined the text, a few things stuck out to me, especially some things about mary and martha's reaction to jesus and jesus' reaction to them.

first there is martha. martha has got to be the older sister. i am not sure of that, but looking at her tendencies, it screams older sister. she is the one who is doing all the work, getting the house ready for jesus when he comes to visit. in this story, when she hears that jesus is on his way, she gets up to go meet him (she takes that initiative and leadership). her first words to jesus want an explanation, she wants to care for her siblings. she is the rational, logical thinker. she knows that lazarus will raise someday, but demands to know why jesus let him die. after talking with jesus, she goes and gets mary, who is still at the house weeping. (we also see no record of martha's tears, i am sure she cried, i mean her brother just died. but something tells me that this strong one did her best to hold it together in public and to be a support for her sister. this is just a guess, but seeing as i think much like martha and that is what i would do, i am pretty sure that is what was happening.)

then we see mary. this the third time we encounter mary in the scriptures. this is the same mary who anointed jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair. last time we saw mary, she was sitting at the feet of jesus, soaking up her time with him, while martha was busy making preparations. here we see her weeping with others over the death of her brother. when martha beckons her, mary's reaction is to go quickly to jesus and fall at his feet. (a familiar position for her) she asks the same question that martha does, but her tone and posture are different here. jesus is deeply moved, moved to tears. now perhaps it was just the timing of it all. lazarus' death and its impact may have finally sunk in. or perhaps it was the tears of mary that stirred his heart or both. but either way, we have a great picture or our savior weeping. he loved lazarus and was grieving, but i think he was also loved mary and martha and was grieving for their pain. he was sympathizing with them. he wept. he knew he was about to raise lazarus, but he still wept. he loved them so much! we have savior that is strong and has overcome death, but still empathizes with us and our emotions and weaknesses.

this reminded of hebrews 4:14-16:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

i wept as i read this. i have a savior who can and does sympathize with my weaknesses. i all too often run in my own strength, trying to improve and get better. i try to fix my weaknesses or at least conceal them until i can deal with them. but lately, i have experienced nothing but failure in this area. i am tired of fighting. i am tired of wrestling. today i realized that i have yet to draw near the throne of grace to receive mercy and find help. as i just spent time in silence with him, i felt burdens lifted. i felt more comfort there than i have in any of my victories of my own self discipline. i felt a love that satisfies. i felt a love that does not condemn and is not critical. i felt a love that shares in my tears rather than waiting for me to snap out of it. why do i busy myself with so many things that are good, but not necessary? why do i run around like martha, rather than sitting at the feet of jesus?. no wonder martha complained to jesus. i am sure she was tired of working and being strong. if only i could be like mary and sit at the feet of jesus and experience the depths of his love like she did. i have hardly tapped into the depths of this grace. i think i understand it, but that is clearly not true. but each time i experience even a part of it, i weep. i am so grateful. why do i wait until i am exhausted? why do i try to fix it in my own strength rather than run to the throne of grace? amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. i am so thankful for this grace that flows down and covers me.

1 comment:

Katie and Justin Cox said...

What a great post! I think you've found your inner-Mary! From one blogger to another...well done! :)