((Date Photographed: 19 June 2007 Description: Cambridge, England: Gonville and Caius College: chapel apse mosaic Jesus teaching Martha about eternal life near the tomb of Lazarus, 1870, by Salviati)) I was not looking for this, which shows how the regular reading of Bible books can help the soul. I am trying to stay very close to the text of this story of Lazarus and his family. I am aiming at understanding the dynamics of the story, who the people were and what is being said about Jesus. Martha makes an amazing statement here. I have never heard it really addressed. She says:
27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
I am truly affected by this text. It, when you compare it to Matthew 16.15-17, is quite revealing. It says that the Spirit of God spoke to the women of the New Testament in the same way that He spoke with the men. Or maybe better said would be that He spoke to apostles and others in the same way. In this passage there is an interaction between Jesus and Peter. It goes like this:
15 He [Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
So it is God the Father Who revealed this also to Martha. We can get into interpretations and questions about Peter and about Jesus’ statement in verse 18 of Mat. 16 but I think it is clear here that God was dealing with the genders equally revealing Himself to them in the same ways. They both made clear statements of faith and understanding.
This should not affect me nor surprise me. I would, without even thinking, say that today God reveals Himself equally to all both genders and to all ages. I guess I have a very high opinion of the apostles and think that no one had such a close relationship to God as they did. Then here I find out that someone else did too. What hope that can give us! What courage to face the next day!
Here is a long quote from FF Bruce ((Bruce, F. F. The Gospel & Epistles of John. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983.)) . It is worth the read:
“… asked about her faith, she confessed her faith in the person who was speaking to her. Like Andrew, she confessed him as the Messiah (John 1:41); Like Nathanael, she confessed him as the Son of God (John1:49). He was the one whose coming Moses and the prophets foretold (John 1:45); now he had come. The perfect tense (pepisteuka) differs but little in force from the present (pisteuo): ‘I have come to believe’, she means, ‘and now, as a settled attitude of soul, I believe.’ (Bruce Jn 11.27)