The familiar truth in John 11 has spoken to me this morning in such a different way. Sometimes there are words in the Bible that we use as conjunctions…we skip over them to try and find the “meat” of what the verse says. Such was the case with me today, until The Lord, in His wonderful wisdom, stopped me.
When Mary and Martha were tending to their sick brother, Lazarus, they had sent a message to Jesus to come quickly. Yet, as The Father knows best, Jesus tarried. After studying the scripture, we know Jesus tarried for a purpose. God doesn’t do anything without a purpose! “Lazarus is dead.” Jesus said. He was not sleeping as the disciples thought Jesus meant. He just had to plainly tell them he had died. But I want you to pay particular attention to Martha’s words. We always give Martha a hard time because she was always so busy working, she never took time to sit at Jesus’ feet, like Mary did. But just listen to this verse where Martha is speaking to Jesus:
“But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.”
“Even now!” That makes me want to run and shout all over the yard! Let’s look at it!
In this moment in time, Martha’s faith went to the very edge of the gulf of believing God could do anything. Her faith was stronger than it had ever been. She probably didn’t even realize her faith was that strong at that time. She just knew she had to get to Jesus, had to plead her case, and that even though Lazarus was already dead and buried, He could, even now, bring her brother back to life! There are some thrilling things I want you to know about God! He doesn’t look at our faith, as Charles Spurgeon says, “in its ebb.” But it is according to your faith in its flood! Hallelujah, Praise His holy name!
In Matthew 29, Jesus says to the two blind men, “According to your faith be it unto you.” And Jesus touched their eyes and they could see! Aren’t you glad God sees the flood and not the ebb in your faith? He reads the thermometer at his highest point, not it’s lowest. We often fancy that our confidence (faith) in Christ is greater than it actually is. How many times have you prayed for something, according to God’s will, and faith believing, but then backtracked before it came to be? Such was the case with Martha. When they got to the grave, Martha didn’t want them to remove the stone from the grave. She told the Lord that by now, he stunk! It was too late! This was probably only hours after she had told Jesus, “even now”. But Jesus…sweet, sweet Jesus took Martha at her highest point of faith and raised Lazarus from the dead and brought him back to her and Mary. What an anchorage is the intercession of Christ! Hallelujah! He intercedes for you and me!
Martha had given her brother up and had actually buried him; yet she believed in the Power of Christ. Buried. There are many buried alive today. In today’s world, we are morally buried and spiritually buried. Just turn on the news. There are living people, made in the image of God that choose to lead a life of sin. They choose a life of putrid, ungodly, and filthiness to indulge in their riotous living. Not only for themselves, but they take these bodies, made in the image of God to lead others astray! How can a body, made in the image of God, do such things? Sin. It’s called sin. Just like Lazarus stunk, those that choose this life, stink. Roman’s tells us to present our bodies a living sacrifice. That is not what is happening in great number. Oh, how much we have to pray for!
Twice this week, I’ve heard about John Newton. The man that wrote “Amazing Grace”. It is our Christian anthem! What a great example of turning from riotous living to one of a life for Christ. John was raised by a Christian mother who taught him the Bible at an early age, but she died while John was only seven of tuberculosis. At age 11, John took his first of six sea voyages with the merchant navy captain, but he lost his first job because of “unsettled behavior and impatience of restraint”. He deserted the Royal Navy, was caught, put in irons and flogged. He eventually got put into a slaver ship. He remained insubordinate and had no morals. Eventually, he was the captain of a slave ship and an investor in slave trade. In 1747, on its homeward journey, his ship was overtaken by a fiery storm. Newton had been reading Thomas a Kempis’s, The Imitation of Christ, and found a line about the “uncertain continuance of life.” He also recalled a scripture in Proverbs, “Because I have called and ye have refused…” This was enough to convert John Newton. The end of nature, will be the beginning of Grace! I feel assured that John’s mother had a prayer answered that very moment.
Lastly, the word “even” is an adverb. It is intended to emphasize something. Martha said, “even now”, right now Jesus could raise Lazarus! In Revelation, we see “even so”. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Even.
Even now, even so, Lord Jesus, let us take these bodies that are in Your image and be about Your business.