It’s interesting to contrast Martha with Mary in this story. What Martha said to the Lord was doctrinally correct.
I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day . . . I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.
Her confession almost sounds like a creed.
By contrast, Mary fell at the Lord’s feet and wept bitterly. And Jesus acted.
Martha didn’t seem to understand that she stood in the presence of the One who wasn’t just a great Teacher, but the Author of life.
While her almost creedal confession was doctrinally accurate, her doubt bled through when she protested after Jesus asked for the stone to be rolled away.
Jesus’ words to Martha about His being the Resurrection and the Life evaporated before the reality of the tomb.
His response to her was telling: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
We cannot fault Martha. She’s too much like us. Faith often takes a nosedive when we are on the brink of tragedy. At such times, we forget the Lord’s words.
Sometimes confessions and creeds, as important as they are, are not enough to move God to act. Only falling at His feet and weeping will suffice.
At the same time, when we are standing on the raw, bleeding edge of tragedy, our spiritual instincts can become paralyzed. And the only thing that we can hold onto is our confession of faith. As Watchman Nee said “The best prayer of all is not ‘I want,’ but ‘Thou art.’”
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Adapted from Frank Viola’s book, “God’s Favorite Place on Earth.”