Seeing the glory of God
Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ John 11: 40b
John 11 communicates an important truth in the Jesus story: Jesus is the Resurrection and the life. Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, has died and Jesus arrives four days too late to save Him (a fact that both Mary and Martha remind Him of). Jesus tells both sisters that their brother will rise again and not in some distant future, but today. They cannot quite bring themselves to believe it and who can blame them! People don’t rise from the dead which is one of the fundamental arguments that atheists (and Jesus Seminar adherents) make in shunning belief entirely or maintaining a hard skepticism around the miracles of Jesus. Jesus, as the stone is rolled away, asks Martha a question: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God.”
Martha (and Mary) will see this miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection whether they believe or not, I think. But Jesus, as He always does in scripture, is asking us, too: Do you believe in my power to transform and resurrect, even our own lives? I am mindful, so very often of late, that my own doubt can overshadow my belief in God’s miraculous power to heal me, save me, and bring me ever more fully into the land of the living, the joyful, and the hopeful. Our lack of belief does not diminish God’s power or love one iota. But our unwillingness to be vulnerable, trust, and to hope in God can make benefiting from and seeing God’s glory difficult, if not impossible. When we say the Creed each week, we make bold claims about what we do believe. There are times we may struggle with parts of our creedal faith but our belief is what opens our eyes to the possibilities of God. Doubt is normal in our continuing walk with God, as is anger at God and wonder at His inability to fix everything that is wrong with our lives. But least we forget, God did not create us to live perfect, trouble-free lives. We are made out of God’s great love, a love that never fades or lessens, only growing with our awareness of that love. Believe and see the glory of God. Believe, and open ourselves up to the wonders of God’s healing power.