There are some very specific reasons currently that have led me to not having the time to write at length as I typically do. On the other hand, here is something I wrote for tomorrow’s service, the second week of Advent.
How does it sound to you, the idea of good triumphing over evil, stories where rightful heirs reclaim their throne, where peace is secured, where the light of the sun yields great harvests, and where God reigns in finality?
Martha liked that, too. In the Gospel of Luke, she longed eagerly for that day when she wouldn’t have to toil the way she did, wouldn’t have to fight against the thorns and thistles of the world the way she did, and, in the Gospel of John, wouldn’t have to cry and mourn over her dead brother the way she had to. She wanted peace, the kind of peace where her brother didn’t have to die, where she didn’t have to suffer, the kind of peace where God reclaims His people and rules once and for all.
So when Jesus arrives at her home, she comes out and says to him “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Let me translate that a bit into a form that might help you understand what she’s really saying: “Lord, why aren’t you King yet? How much longer until you wear the crown? How much longer will we suffer? When will you make these things better?”
And when Jesus says “Your brother will rise again,” he’s really saying to Martha, “Just a little bit longer, Martha.”
When Martha replies, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day,” she’s crying out to Jesus “But I want you to be King, now. I want you to be my ruler, now. I want you to govern me, now. I want you to bring peace, now. I don’t want to wait any longer.”
And when Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life,” he’s really saying to both Martha and us “I am peace. I am Shalom. I am coming as King. Do you believe this?”
We join the words of Martha as she says aloud, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” And so that Martha might be comforted in her waiting, Jesus raises her brother, Lazarus from the dead. And so that we might be comforted in our waiting for his birth and second coming. . . God raises Jesus from the dead.
God has promised a King of true peace. Just a little bit longer, now.