Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died . . .” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live . . . Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” —John 11:21-27
How many times have I heard the plaintive cry of Martha, “If only God had acted, my loved one would not have died.” Such words are spoken out of deep longing to see our beloved once again. Martha’s brother Lazarus has been dead four days and like many in her situation, she is grief-stricken and angry.
What does Jesus do? He immediately gives Martha hope by proclaiming that her brother will live again through him. Then out of the depth of her despair, Martha affirms that Jesus is the Messiah. Peter makes the only other verbal confession of Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ. In the first century, such a confession was the hallmark of an apostle, yet it is only Peter’s confession that is highlighted in most biblical teaching.
Easter is not just one day, but a joyous fifty-day season, which began this week. As we celebrate the joy of Jesus’ resurrection, let us also celebrate Martha’s insight into Jesus as the Christ, placing her on equal footing with Peter. At the same time, let’s do all we can to make sure the accomplishments of the marginalized today are heralded and not forgotten.
Is there someone you can lift up today?
The Rev. Canon Elizabeth Geitz