Today’s title fits every life and particularly our present shared condition. These days give new meaning to being “shut-ins.” Right?
We will interrupt our study of the individual disciples and take them as a group as the pathway to resurrection unfolds with hard times and good times.
When the disciples were previously in Jerusalem, the religious leaders were hot on Jesus trail finding fault and asking hard questions with Jesus constantly countering their attacks. They even tried to stone him. The disciples felt the sting of it all and were reluctant when some time later Jesus said they were going back to Jerusalem for Passover.”
Now we find them somewhere along the Jordan River ministering and baptizing while Jesus teaches and performs miracles.
A messenger rushes in to declare that friend Lazarus is very ill. Though they are surprised that Jesus doesn’t go immediately, are they possibly relieved not to be going closer to Jerusalem? Alas, two days later, Jesus says they are going. That’s when we hear Thomas say,
“Let us also go that we may die with him.” John 11:16
When Martha greets them, we feel her heartache, not only that her brother is dead, but also that Jesus had not cared enough to come to heal him. Jesus begins talking immediately about resurrection. He would soon give a vivid portrayal of life after death.
Martha said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” John 11:25
Jesus gives a response, similar to when he had earlier told the disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus, said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25
Martha gives her wonderful testimony of faith,
“Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, who has come into the world.” John 11:27
As Jesus walks to the tomb, we see his human compassion for Martha, Mary, and their friends as well as for his friend, Lazarus, which leads us to that simple verse,
Jesus wept. John 11:35
Well, we know “the rest of the story.” Jesus commands the tomb to be opened and shouts, “Lazarus, come out!” They see a display of resurrection right before their eyes.
Word spreads like wild fire. Pilgrims, coming in for Passover, line the pathway from the view of Jerusalem to the eastern gate, cheering and praising God. They drape their cloaks across the path as Jesus rides in on a donkey. They wave palm branches in a celebration of victory as they sing songs of hosanna.
Very good times!
May we join these joyful praises as we celebrate and join live-streaming services this Palm Sunday! Joyful times in the midst of hard times.
~ Joyce ~