Men’s Week 2015: This is part 4 of a 4-part series on Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. – John 12:1-2
Remember there are 3 scenes written about Mary, Martha and Lazarus. In the first scene, Jesus comes over but Lazarus is nowhere to be found (Luke 10:38-42). In the second scene, Lazarus is sick and eventually dies (John 11). In the third scene, Lazarus is reclining at the table with Jesus, having a grand ole time. According to John 11:5, Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus. But the Bible never says, “Lazarus loved Jesus.” We can assume Martha loved Jesus because in John 11, she was hosting him. We also know Mary loved Jesus because in John 11, she was the first seminary student that ever lived. But Lazarus, in John 11 is outside running the streets. Perhaps he is upstairs playing video games. But Jesus is in his house, and he doesn’t think enough about him to show up.
Lazarus is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. He’s the one child who didn’t get straight A’s. He’s the star athlete who didn’t get a basketball scholarship.
Lazarus is the family member that we make excuses for. Every Thanksgiving, he’s there but he’s not there. He comes late and he leaves early. “Lazarus” is that strange and mystical girl. She struggles with self-image and weight issues, but tries to blend in so that nobody asks her what’s wrong. He is the boy who thinks he is gay, but won’t tell his dad. There’s a Lazarus in each of our families. And how do we know who he is? Well, Lazarus is not cooking. Lazarus won’t be listening. Instead, Lazarus is just in the house.
Some of us reading this are “Lazarus” and we don’t want anybody to know. We’re not cooking. We’re not listening. We’re just in the house. We used to be so “on fire” for the Lord. But right now, we’re just “here.” We’re blending in. We don’t come to church to serve. We come to church hoping nobody will say anything to us. We are drained, exhausted and tired. Our attitude has become indifferent and un-invested. “Don’t ask me anything,” we say. “And don’t volunteer my name on the committee. I’m just here.” Oh yea, we’re nice but…the truth is, we’re just in the house.
I think if Lazarus was asked to help in the kitchen, he would help, but at this point, nobody wants to bother him. We all know how Lazarus is. Lazarus is sluggish and moody. But the main problem is not that Lazarus doesn’t care about Jesus; the problem is we assume he’s supposed to care simply because of who he is related to.
You know what I mean. Many people go to church simply because Mary and Martha make them. Lazarus could be a pastor’s kid or a family relative. He is “affiliated to the faith” because he knows church doctrine, but nobody has asked Lazarus, “Do you know Jesus for yourself?”
Friends, be careful not to clump people into one category. Some of the world’s most blatant atheists come to church every Sunday. Many people are related to church, but divorced from the faith. They love their denomination, but have no real relationship with Jesus Christ.
At some point in life, however, everybody is going to have to choose Jesus for him or herself. Sadly, for Lazarus, he had to die in order to live. Thankfully, he ended up at the table.
But what about you?
What will it take for you to make JESUS a permanent choice in your life? I want to encourage each of you reading this devotional to choose Jesus now before the terminal prognosis, and before the life-altering accident. Don’t rely on Martha’s works or Mary’s prayers. Make Jesus your choice today, and you will never be the same! By tomorrow, I pray Jesus will find you reclining at the table.
Shaun Saunders is a native of Newark, NJ and has earned four degrees with specialties in English and Theology. He is the father of a precious little girl, Zinai, and is currently serving as an Associate Minister at Kingdom Church with Pastor Dharius Daniels. A publisher, producer, professor, and author, Shaun loves to assist new writers, and loves to teach in the academy. Learn more about Min. Saunders at www.godzchild.com.