Jesus asked: John 11

You ever feel like you are in a gap? We often use the saying, “Between a rock and hard place.” But the truth is, we are in a gap, does it matter what is on either side of us? Would it really make a difference? One definition of a gap is: a difference or disparity in attitudes, perceptions, character, or development, or a lack of confidence or understanding, perceived ascreating a problem. The disciples, Martha, and Mary experienced gaps and Jesus had questions to ask about those gap times.

In John 11, the scene opens with news of someone who is dear to Jesus being deathly ill. What is Jesus’s reaction? To wait two more days! There’s the gap! As we scroll down, we see our first question asked by Jesus in verse 9. Actually, Jesus answered a question with a question, doesn’t that seem to be an annoying habit of His?  The original question was from his disciples, “Rabbi, the Jews only recently were intending and trying to stone You, and are You [thinking of] going back there again?” He’s answer question is “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” *whiplash from the double take* WHAT?! It doesn’t even seem like He heard the question does it. Ever had those kind of conversations with Him? “Jesus, if I do that, no one is going to believe me, are you sure?” His answer, “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” “Jesus, that is not a place where Christians are welcome, you really want me to go there?” His answer, “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” UGH!!

I find it interesting the disciples were more comfortable with the gap than they were when Jesus decided to moved. Ever get like that? Knowing when Jesus moves, it could require something courageous on our part? It could be uncomfortable? We could be called to go where we don’t want to? Are you more comfortable with the gap you are in, than the movement Jesus is asking you to make?

Jesus continues, “Anyone who walks about in the daytime does not stumble, because he sees [by] the light of this world.  But if anyone walks about in the night, he does stumble, because there is no light in him [the light is lacking to him].” Commentaries on this passage indicate it is about walking in God’s direction. When we walk in His direction, it doesn’t mean there won’t be problems or hardships, but the path will be lit. If we walk in our own direction, we are walking in the dark and are almost guaranteed to stumble.  Have you settled into the gap? Are you walking on His path or on your own?

Later we see him encounter Martha. Lazarus has been dead for four days. There’s the gap! Martha didn’t wait for Jesus to come to her, she went out to him.  Jesus tells her that her brother will live again and she says, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.” Have you ever been in a gap time where the end seems so far away? You have resigned yourself to the inevitable? Given up hope of any kind of change anytime soon? It feels like this is where Martha is. And then Jesus asks another question, “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?” *tap tap tap on the computer screen* Well, do you? It’s like we forget who Jesus is, what He has done, where He has been and returned from.

I guess in the gap time, we could resign ourselves to the death we have experienced. The death of hope. The death of a love. The death of a dream. But do we have to stay there when Jesus is standing right before us? He is THE Resurrection and Life – THE!! We don’t have to believe in the hope, the love, or the dream we once had, all we have to believe in is Him. Have you settled for what the world has told you? Have you settled for what your feelings or thoughts have told you? Or will you recognize Jesus as He stands before you? Ready to raise that hope, that love, that dream from the dead and give it new life??!!

Martha goes to get Mary, who has just been sitting there, drowning in her emotions. I noticed when Martha heard Jesus was coming, she went out to him. But it says, “Mary remained sitting in the house.” There’s the gap! Have you been there? Knowing Jesus is with you. Knowing who He is. But just sitting there, drowning in sorrow. Not wanting to move. Just wanting life to pass you by? Poor Poor Pitiful Me. And then when you snap out of it a little and think about Jesus being there, have you jumped up and basically attacked Him for not doing anything? It’s kind of what Mary did, or at least what I think she did. Look at the words, it says she, “sprang up quickly” and the Jews saw how “hastily Mary had arisen and gone out.” This is a woman with purpose. First she just sat, then she sprang up. And then it says “she fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”” If you had only … If you would only … Where were you … Why me??? Ever ask any of those questions? Shake your fist at God and say, “Where are you!!” And then falling back down again and sobbing? Are you in that gap?

And what does Jesus do? He asks, “Where have you laid him?” He’s like, ok, so now you want some action. You sat there all this time, emotionally unstable going from sad, to mad, to hurt. And I’ve been here waiting on you. Let’s clean this mess up. Where did you leave the stuff? Pick yourself up and show me what you have done.

One verse makes me chuckle a bit, because I can just see Jesus doing this, “Jesus, again sighing repeatedly and deeply disquieted, approached the tomb.” Ha! Can you see it too? He tells them to roll away the stone and I see a big sigh coming after Martha makes her comment, “Master, by this time there’s a stench. He’s been dead four days!” Well thank you Martha for telling us something we already knew! SIGH!! LOL There’s the gap! Ever had Jesus tell you to do something and you tell Him something that He, and probably everyone else around you, already knows? How many times do we get caught in this gap? Roll away the stone, but it will stink! Roll away the stone, but it’s dead! Roll away the stone … but …! And finally, we do what He wants and He looks at us, sighs, and asks, “Did I not tell you and [a]promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?” MARTHA!!! You just told me you believed! Where is your belief? Has He ever said that to you? *stares with one eyebrow raised* YOU, yes, you on the other side of this screen. Where is your belief? Do you really believe He is the Resurrection and Life? Really?

What gap are you in? Are you in a comfortable gap? Afraid of the next step? Are you in the resigned gap? Accepting the end is a long way off? Are you in the emotional gap? Not wanting to participate in life, riding the emotional rollarcoaster? Are you in the disbelief gap? Saying you believe, but living as if you don’t?

Know what Jesus says about the gap?

Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.

Maybe the gap time isn’t for you at all? Maybe the gap time is for someone else? Notice it also says, “many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Him. [They trusted in Him and adhered to Him and relied on Him.]”  Do you have Jews sitting around you?

If a gap is: a difference or disparity in attitudes, perceptions, character, or development, or a lack of confidence or understanding, perceived ascreating a problem. Maybe it is best to just keep our eyes on Jesus, listen to Him, trust Him, rely on Him, and believe in Him. Maybe then those gap times won’t seem so tough. Or maybe the gap time won’t even seem like a gap because Jesus will fill it.

Jesus is asking: I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. … Do you believe this?

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