Finished The Grave Robber by Mark Batterson tonight. I was actually trying to drag it out so it would last throughout the Lenten season, but every time I opened the book, I just couldn’t keep my eyes from straying to one more page – one more segment – one more chapter. Mark Batterson is passing on a message. There is a Grave Robber, and He robbed the grave – not once – but twice.
“Jesus said to her [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life.”~Jn 11:25
No pussy-footing around at this point. No subtle metaphors. Just a statement of fact; “I am the resurrection…” Can you imagine standing next to a man you have known for awhile and listening to these words come out of his mouth? Can you put yourself in that moment? How would you react?
I keep trying to picture myself in Martha and Mary’s place. Resurrection? What the heck does he mean by that anyway? Did they already know – deep within themselves – that Rabbi Yeshua was the Messiah or were they still trying to get their head around the fact that he MIGHT be the Messiah? People had been talking about the Messiah for years. Every generation thinks the Messiah will come to them. How many doubts darted around their minds every day? I like to think if I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t think he was crazy and look around to see if others were thinking the same thing. I like to think I would have the discernment to see the Messiah standing right in front of me. But, truth be told, I’m not sure I would. I’m a pretty healthy skeptic, and no one in this world raises anyone from the dead.
In that moment, the Grave Robber looks at the sisters of Lazarus and through his own tears reveals the truth of who He truly is. “I am the resurrection and the life.” He knows what lays ahead as He says these words. Are his tears just for Lazarus, or are they also for another moment that is coming all too soon? The people gathered by the tomb are the ones cloest to him. He loves them well. He bore all the temptations, pain and fears of any man that had walked earth for 33 years…maybe more. But…and this is the stumbling block for many – he was the WORD. He had prepared the soil for this exact moment. Parables and smaller miracles had tilled and fertized in the soil of these people. It was time to plant the seed and see if it would bear fruit.
“Jesus said to her, “…whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Jn 11:26
I wonder if Matha hesitated at this crucial moment. I wonder if she looked at Mary and the others before she answered. I wonder how I would have answered Rabbi Yeshua in that exact moment. I hope, I pray once again that I would have had a Matha moment and replied as strongly and confidently as she did because it is a question he asks of all of us…….even in our oh-so-wise-technologically-advanced society……..today. “Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” Jn 11:27