In his own words!
I know why you’re here. Don’t worry I’ll get to THAT story in a minute but I have to start at the beginning. Do you mind?
Well… the first time I met Jesus, He had been travelling for several days. After teaching ALL day in Bethany, where we live, he had been planning to travel on by night to the next town!
My sister, Martha, insisted Jesus stay the night with us and then continue his journey the next morning, refreshed. The look of gratitude that crossed his face could not be feigned. So Mary and Martha prepared refreshments and we all shared a late meal.
Now Jesus was nothing like what I pictured. Frankly I expected the guy to be 10 feet tall and to glow the way Moses’ face did when He came down from the Mountain! But Jesus just looked like a regular guy. Well regular but humble and really intense. You knew when he was looking at you or talking to you that he meant every word and when he smiled at you it pierced heart deep.
After that Jesus would stay with us when he was in town. My favorite memories are talking late into the nite when Jesus should have been asleep. Often he challenged me to rethink how I treated the others in our home. Truth be told I was pretty spoiled. My sisters waited on me hand and foot. They couldn’t wait until I was married so they would have some help getting me to do my share in the family business! But after spending time with Jesus I was never the same. Sometimes he had me laughing for hours. Even when we were just hangin out I never felt like Jesus saw it as wasted time. A few times Jesus left me ashamed of something I had said or done but the next time I saw him I realized he just wanted the best for and from me. And little by little I really began to believe he MUST be the Messiah that the scriptures foretold. Then one day I realized I would follow this guy anywhere and do whatever he told me to…because I knew that it would always be right and good! But he wasn’t just the Messiah or our teacher. Jesus was my friend. The brother I never had.
Then one day I got sick. You’ve heard some of this right?
At first we were sure it would pass. We thought it was the just a cold. But I could tell Martha was worried when I stopped eating. I mean she’s a great cook and I rarely left the table without seconds! But I just kept getting worse.
I couldn’t get warm enough. My fever refused to break. Nothing we tried worked!
Finally Mary sent for Jesus to tell him I was sick. And I just knew that he would come. Several days passed, no Jesus, and I got weaker and weaker. And all I could think was if Jesus was really my friend why didn’t he come!
And it wasn’t that I expected him to heal me. I mean he didn’t heal every sick person in Bethany. But he always left them better than he found them on the inside if they let Him! I just thought he would come because we were friends and he would want to see me one last time. I thought about the times when God had showed up for the prophets. But then I began to remember some of the passages Jesus told me were his favorites like Psalm 22 and 23. They reminded him to stay strong like David did even when he felt forsaken or faced overwhelming circumstances. I thought about how passionate Jesus became when we studied how Job responded to the loss of his family by falling down to worship the God who allowed it. Finally I just couldn’t stay awake any longer. I told my sisters to remember Mishael, Hananiah and Azariah. Our God is able to rescue us…but even if He doesn’t….Let us do likewise
I fell asleep with my sisters holding my hands and crying and wondering how I could have been so wrong?
Then the next thing I remember was thinking somehow I had gotten tangled up in my bedclothes. Then I realized nothing else mattered because Jesus was calling,
Shouting my name
and I just had to
GET TO HIM!
I was pretty shaken up when they explained what had happened. And I know you have more questions about what I remember while I was dead but this is what I want you to remember.
The spoiled young man in need of a brother and a friend that Jesus met that first night….was dead long before Jesus called me out of that tomb. I met Jesus face to face and now
I am not the same. That’s the real miracle.
If my heart is overwhelmed and I cannot hear your voice
I hold onto what is true, though I cannot see
If the storms of life they come, and the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith, I will believe
I remind myself of all that you’ve done
And the life I have because of your Son
Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am yours
I am forever yours
Mountain high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am yours
I am forever yours
When my heart is filled with hope, and every promise comes my way
When I feel your hands of grace, rest upon me
Staying desperate for you God, Staying humbled at your feet
I will lift these hands and praise, I will believe