Fifth Sunday of Lent
Text: John 11: 1-45 Title: Martha-like
Introduction: a story from Chinese history
There were six nations in ancient land of China. The king Si of Jin, one of the six nations, succeeded to unite the six nations and became the emperor. The emperor Si built marvellous palaces and enjoyed extreme pleasure. When he became old, however, he realized vanity of life. Therefore he was determined to find the way for eternal life. He sent many his subjects out to the famous mountains of China and commanded them to find the mystic herb of eternal life. As you know already, he waited for years but died lonely on the road when he was looking around his empire.
Is there the way to have eternal life? You may say, "yes." If you say, "yes," do you really believe that the way is accessible? In the text, a woman is found who believed the way but failed to access to the way.
Jesus talks with Martha (vv.17-27)
Martha therefore said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you."
Jesus said to her, "Your brother shall rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."
In this conversation Martha's sayings contradict each other. She recognizes the life-giving power of God that is in Jesus, however, she fails to access to the person, Jesus.
Jesus, therefore, said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
Jesus emphasizes his presence in person. And Martha replies to this.
She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, even he who comes into world."
However, at the tomb, when Jesus said, "Remove the stone," Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days."
What kind of faith did Martha have? Her faith seems very intellectual. In spite of her great confessions, she failed to access to the person, Jesus.
Application and conclusion
When we read the text, we can easily find the problem in Martha's faith.
However, most of us face the same problem in our daily Christian lives.
We confess our faith, however, we fail to come to Jesus because our reasoning and intellectual capacity interrupt accessibility to Jesus.
Let us put aside our reasoning and experiences!
Let us come to Jesus, the Son of God, to experience wonders, miracles, and above all,
Life-giving power! When Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth,"
the dead body received life again. Lazarus came alive from death.