“I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”  (Emphasis added.)

Jn 11:25

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These are Jesus words to Lazarus’ sister Martha upon his journey to Martha and her sister Mary days after receiving word of Lazarus illness.

Yes, Jesus delayed in going to Lazarus and his sisters and did so that others might see and believe in him and the promise of life abundant and eternal.

One might reasonably say that there are few stories in Scripture as fundamentally important as this story.  Why?

Identifying Jesus as the life and the resurrection is the most fundamental element of Christian belief.  Without this, no matter our attendance at Church, we cannot know life in the full, nor have confidence in our eternal existence.

In the pagan world, just as it is regrettably now in contemporary existence, people fear death and in this fear employ all sorts or dreadful strategies to live under their own limited power and intellect; doing so as if there is no eternal and unending tomorrow, no Christ, no God, no Savior, no forever.

Like the disciples we hear literally and live in limited human recognition.  In reflecting on Jesus delay in responding to the urgent message he received, you most likely wondered: How can he delay?  Or thought: Would not the loving thing be to hasten to Mary, Martha and Lazarus?

But Jesus, like His Father, is not human, but Divine; and, as God Jesus works in all human events and experiences to teach us, open our eyes to what is True, expand our mortal existence to its natural status of supernatural reality and spiritual understanding and existence enjoyed in mortal life and forever – full life here and eternally.

Chapter 11 of the Gospel of John is well worth your reading.  Please take time for it and think about it.  Sit with it in quiet.  Let its questions come to you.

The story of Lazarus Rising tells us many practical things.  Among them it says to us: judge not instantly when tragic events happen – let time settle, for God is present in all events, especially the most troubling ones.  Ask yourself at those hard moments this simple question: What does God wish me to know from this?  And this: What does God ask of me in response to this experience?  How am I called to grow in this, to witness as a result of this?

I dare say that if we hear what Jesus said to Martha and says to us in this story, we would not fear death, and there would be no suicide nor habitual unhappiness.  Nor would we be captured in the shallows of ego and its fears, and need to seek celebrity, desire the control over others and all events we encounter, or seek at all cost the esteem and acceptance of others.

Finally, make no mistake – stop listening to those who do not believe. They cannot lead. They can only destroy.  For in not believing they lack humility and in that deficit have no access to wisdom and courage.

Live smart.  Believe.  Yes, live in faith.

Shalom.

I ask you to play a role in spreading the Gospel today.  Send this post to others who you wish to receive eternal life, to be relieved of the sufferings of this world.

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