Tag Archive | Martha

The Lazarus Conspiracy

There was a buzz on the streets of Jerusalem as pilgrims flocked to the city for Passover. Rumors swirled that the Messiah could possibly be there. But those rumors were being fed by the fact that a man named Lazarus was there as well.

Yes… THAT Lazarus.

LazarusThe dead guy.

Word of the miraculous resurrection of this man from Bethany had already spread like wildfire. Just weeks before, Lazarus was lying dead in a tomb.

Stone. Cold. Dead.

When Jesus showed up, His presence did little to dissuade their sorrow. Even before He made it into the village proper, Lazarus’s sister Martha came out to meet Him.

“Lord, if You would have been here my brother would not have died”, Martha exclaimed, probably in mid-stride.

Mary, Lazarus’s other sister, waited until Jesus got to town before she fell at his feet, echoing the same exclamation of hopelessness. The display of genuine mourning moved Jesus, in spite of the fact that He knew what the outcome of the day would be. Although God, He was human as well, and subject to human emotions such as sorrow. Lazarus had been His friend, and although the irony of the moment was not lost on Him, He also was not immune to its emotion either.

“Remove the stone”, came the command from the Master upon arriving at the entrance to Lazarus’s tomb.

“But Lord… he’s been in there for four days! What about the stench???” inquired the always practical Martha.

Again with the doubting????

“Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Jesus’ tone with His reply made them think better of asking any more questions. They rolled the stone away, and after lifting His eyes to the heavens in a brief prayer of thanksgiving to the Father, Jesus set His focus on the opening before Him.

“Lazarus! Come forth!” Jesus commanded into the darkness of the cave.

Moments later, a grave-linen-clad Lazarus appeared within sight of all who were gathered there.

Even in first-century Judea… news traveled fast.

Now Jesus is in Jerusalem, Lazarus is there, and the subsequent attention that both were attracting was not all positive. While the rumors of the Lazarus miracle had attracted the attention of certain Greek converts with a fired-up desire to see Jesus, the religious crowd had other plans.

Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. ~ John 12:9-11

So… Lazarus has died, Jesus shows up four days later and raises him from the grave, the people are now flocking to Jesus in droves, and your big plan is to kill the guy Jesus just raised from the dead???

Really?!?!

Maybe if they had spent as much time studying the prophecies as they did in scheming and plotting, they would have realized what Jesus then revealed to these Greek converts — a traditionally scholarly bunch.

“The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. ~ John 12:23

In this statement was a huge paradigm-shift. Up until this point, Jesus had — on multiple occasions — declared the opposite; “My time has not fully come” was the reason given on more than one occasion and for more than one reason. But now He was declaring that His hour HAD come!

But what hour?

Jesus understood that the hour had come for the season to be realized.

While the priests were busy plotting against the diversion of the Lazarus conspiracy, every prophecy about Jesus was falling into place. All of the prophetic chess pieces were falling into place, and the Pharisees and chief priests were mere pawns.

The prophecy about His death was about to be fulfilled.

All of the typology of His passion was about to be understood.

The stranglehold that Satan had on the human race was about to be broken.

Jesus understood that His entire life had led up to this moment; the whip, the garden, the betrayal, the mocking, the crown of thorns, and the cross. His entire life on this earth had been a road to the cross. Before time began, God knew of humanity’s fall, and had His kingdom planned (Matt. 25:34), His people chosen (Eph. 1:4), His salvation finished (Heb. 4:3), and the cross and the redemptive blood of Christ planned (1 Pet. 18-20). As the saying goes… “it was over before it started.”

Jesus understood that the hour had come for the seed to be sown.

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. ~ John 12:24

Jesus saw the giving of His life in harmony with the ancient principles of seed-time and harvest. He was not forfeiting His life. He was giving His life. It was not martyrdom but rather an investment. As Lord of Creation, He understood the Laws of the Harvest

You must sow to reap.
In order to get a harvest, you must first plant seed (John 3:14-15)

You reap what you sow.
Jesus sowed righteousness to release a resurrection life.

You reap after you sow.
Jesus knew what was coming, and knew what He had to do (Heb. 12:2).

You reap more than you sow.
Just as a single seed births an apple tree that produces thousands of apples, Jesus sowed His life, and reaped a new human race.

Jesus understood that the judgment being executed was not His execution.

Jesus knew going into His crucifixion that the real judgment was not the one handed down by Pontius Pilate, but was the two-fold judgment being sealed by His death on the cross.

Christ1Everything the human race was and is in Adam was judged on the cross. (Rom. 5:18)
Jesus knew that all of the history of mankind until that moment was being judged at that moment, and that, in three days, everything would be different.

Satan’s judgment was assured. (Col. 2:14-15)
Satan was “the prince of this world”. He was the cherubim over all the planet earth until his fall. In Eden, he tried to regain what he had forfeited. At the cross, his infernal plans were thwarted once and for all, and he was stripped of his authority.

Jesus understood the attraction of the cross.

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
This He said, signifying by what death He would die. ~ John 12:32-33

The cross was an ugly thing. It was one of the most diabolical methods of torture and death ever devised by men. All along, Jesus knew it was coming. Yet, because of Jesus death, that very cross — repulsive to the Jews and a cause of scandal to the Greeks — had a drawing and saving power no one can explain.

They still can’t.

 The cross is more than two ugly wooden timbers fastened together, or a piece of beautiful jewelry to be worn. The cross is the crossroads of human history — the focal point that every moment before pointed to, and every moment since is dependent upon.

You see, the Cross is:

 “of all times the turning point;
   of all history the crucial point;
   of all love the highest point;
   of all salvation the starting point;
   of all worship the central point.”

I Want To Be Like…

Any of you that watch my program are familiar with my co-host, Angie McGregor. Along with being on Ron Phillips from Abba’s House, and being the Executive Director of Communications for Ron Phillips Ministries, Angie is also a very talented worship leader, songwriter, speaker, and…

Blogger.

Angie CUAngie recently began her own blog called Real Life. I encourage all of you who follow mine to follow hers as well. She writes things from her own life experience, with deep spiritual meaning woven throughout her words. It’s really good stuff! To visit (and follow) her blog, go to…

http://www.angiemcgregor.com

This is one of her recent posts that I read and, with her permission, wanted to share with you today. I hope you enjoy it! Now, without further ado, I give you my friend…

Angie McGregor.

I Want To Be Like Mary

“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.”  Luke‬ ‭10‬:‭39‬ NKJV

There’s nothing like a perfect dinner party or family event. Unfortunately, there are many times I have missed the fun because I was trying to get everything ready! If you have the gift of hospitality you always want things to be right. You want the house to look right, the food to taste good, the porch to be swept clean and the plan well organized. It is a lot of hard work! And often times, the work continues after the guests arrive.

Looking back across the years I realize there have been many moments when I had to ask for the conversation to be repeated when something really funny or really important or really beautiful happened. Why? Because I was working in the kitchen.

Everyone thanks you for a great meal and lovely evening. They leave. You realize that you missed it!

In the Bible there is a story about two sisters, Mary and Martha, who were having a dinner party. They had invited a special friend over to the house. This guest was one that they had welcomed to their home before and everyone wanted to sit and listen when he came to visit. His words were insightful, instructive, encouraging and filling. Jesus was their special guest.

For Mary and Martha it was very important to have everything right for Him. They wanted the house to be swept, the furniture in order a good place for him to sit as he enjoyed time in their home. I imagine they had a room prepared with fresh linens and a water pitcher by the bed so that he would be comfortable in the night if He stayed as their guest.

Martha had plenty of food cooking on the stove and fresh bread baking in the oven becauseBread she wanted to provide a special feast for this Man who had given her so very, very much. When He arrived, everyone was excited and they all gathered in the family room and sat down to spend time with Jesus…everyone but Martha, who was tending to food.

Mary and the other guests listened to Jesus talk about where He had been and about all that miracles that had taken place during His travels. He probably told them about the people who had been changed along the way. And then He began to teach them.

From the kitchen, Martha could hear Jesus teaching in the other room but she couldn’t leave the stove. The bread would burn! And then I imagine that she started to think about her sister sitting at Jesus’ feet.  And she began to feel left out and unhappy with her sister, who was not carrying her part of the load!

After all, she was working really hard for her Lord preparing this meal, making sure everything she was doing would please him. I can imagine her finally saying to herself, “Enough is enough! I’m going to go tell Jesus to send my sister in to help me!”

So she goes into the other room where everyone is gathered and she interrupts Jesus, “Master won’t you tell my sister to get up and come and help me make this meal? I shouldn’t have to do all of the work while she sits here and does nothing!”

Jesus replies in a way that’s really difficult to accept if you are someone who has the spiritual gift of hospitality or service. Jesus says to this hard working friend, “What you’re doing is not important right now. The most important thing to do is what Mary is doing — sitting here at my feet and letting me teach her.”

I know that is hard to swallow for those of us who have spent our lives working hard for Jesus. Having been a staff member at a church for 25 years I certainly understand the importance of hard work in serving Christ. But if I look back over my life and even more than the conversations I have missed during dinner parties in my home, I have probably missed some incredible moments with Christ because I worked myself ragged “doing” while the Savior was sitting in the living room of my heart ready to speak to me. All the while I was in the church doing, or in the laundry room washing or in bedroom sleeping because I was so exhausted from all of my service for Him in the kitchen.

So which one are you– Mary or Martha?

Jesus is sitting in residence today in the living room of your heart. He has so much to share with you! Let me encourage you to find the balance between the two. If you say proudly,”I’m Mary”, please don’t leave all the work to someone else! Do your share so Martha isn’t so exhausted all the time and grumbling because she’s missing out.

If you’ll do your part Mary, Martha will be ready to sit down with Jesus when He shows up at the house!

Martha, if there is too much work to be done and no one else will do it, you have to come to a place in your life where you will stop and sit down at the feet of Jesus for the well-being of your soul and the strength of your mind, heart and emotions. Sit at his feet; listen to His voice and learn from Him while He is near. Jesus told Martha that Mary had made the better choice by sitting down at His feet to learn from Him. Why do you need to be still at times?

So you can be equipped by Jesus to teach your children. So you can serve effectively in the community. So that you will want to be in the house of God. So you’re a better spouse. Better parent. Better friend. Better child. Better employee. Better manager.

I want to be like Mary because too often I find myself in the kitchen like Martha…working.

One more very important thing to note, both women had a personal relationship with Jesus. But all of Martha’s doing didn’t gain her more favor with Jesus than Mary did in her stillness.

We must be about the work of Christ. But doing the work of Christ will not save us. I want to be like Mary. How about you? Have you found the balance in your life?  Pray this prayer with me: Dear Jesus, help me sit at your feet and learn from you so I can daily serve you and others with power, wisdom, love and grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen