This week is always a special week for me. Obviously, it is a special week in the life of every Christ-follower as this is the time of year when we focus on, and take in, the death and resurrection of our Savior.
I have been reading, in the different Gospel accounts, the story of this week again and again. Today, I came across a passage that struck me and so I’m going to share my thoughts. I have been reading from John 11 and 12. Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem, where He knows He will die, and does a series of miracles along the way.
Jesus’ friend Lazarus has died. As Mary and Martha, his sisters, weep for the loss of their brother, Jesus weeps as well. Jesus tells them that Lazarus will be resurrected. Martha agrees, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus, however, sets her straight: “I am the resurrection and the life.” As Martha looks for an outcome solution, Jesus once again offers Himself as the solution. He does this a lot!
As Jesus continued toward Jerusalem, we read that He rode in on a donkey and was praised by the crowd that surrounded Him. Jesus told His disciples that He would soon die. They didn’t understand. He prayed, “Father, glorify Your name.” There was a crowd around Jesus that heard a voice from heaven say, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Can you imagine? Some of the people thought it was thunder. I’m trying to wrap my brain around standing there, listening to Jesus pray, and then hearing an audible voice answer from heaven.
As we read a bit more, however, verse 37 strikes hard: “But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.” How does one see Jesus raise a dead man and then hear a voice from heaven answer His prayer and not believe? Am I that person? Do I see God’s answered prayer all the time and then doubt He will answer tomorrow? With everything that God has done for me, in tangible and practical ways, how can I ever doubt Him again? And yet I do. I identify with that feeling of wanting to pursue by faith and feeling stuck in doubt. I often wish I could at least name the wall that blocks my faith journey. I simply don’t trust sometimes.
You may, at this moment, be thinking, “I am able to trust God all the time. I’ll pray for you, Gina. That’s sad.” But my guess is that you struggle with this as well. How many obvious blessings has God given you? How many times have the bills been paid, or the crisis averted, or the illness miraculously healed? And yet, how difficult is it to trust God with the next thing? Even though I live 2000 years after the fact, I was there in that crowd. Were you?
If your answer is no, then you’re a Pharisee and I will pray for you. If your answer is yes, stay with the struggle this week. Don’t try to resolve it yet. I know we Americans like to resolve yucky things quickly but this is important to sit with. Just like Jesus with Martha, the solution is not a specific outcome. The solution is Jesus Himself.
This Holy Week, let’s allow our lack of faithfulness to God to surface. Let’s let our protective guard down and grant Jesus access to our hidden motivations. If we can be honest with Him, we will understand the depth of the cross and resurrection. If we believe we have already mastered this stuff, or we don’t want to deal with ourselves this way, we will miss the whole point. Friday and Sunday will just be pleasant spring holidays. Easter will be limited to bunnies and egg hunts. We are fickle, intolerant, selfish, easily swayed crowd members. Jesus has done many miracles for us and we still don’t believe Him.
It’s Monday, but Sunday’s coming.