Rev. Alice Walker (Women’s Emphasis Revival at Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church)
Trinity AME Zion Church
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus. “Lord, the one you love is sick.” John 11:1-6 (NIV)
This is a familiar text often focused on Lazarus. His two sisters, Mary and Martha are no strangers to us. The home of Bethany was a place of rest for Jesus. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus to inform him that their brother Lazarus was sick and was dying. Illness can be more than just what is in our bodies. Illness can be money, children disrespecting us, divorce, and more... There is illness everywhere. A few statistics about African American women: One (1) in four (4) of us are still uninsured; One (1) in 20 of us have high blood pressure; and Sixty-five percent (65%) of all of the new cases of AIDS are found in African American women. We need to send a message – a word to Jesus. We all have some Lazarus’ in our lives. We all have a part in our lives that is ailing or dying. Whether it is work, relationships, our bank account, etc. Mary and Martha had a sick brother and there was nothing they could do except to send word to Jesus. We can't do it all by ourselves. We don't have to do everything by ourselves.
In this text we see three (3) things for sisters who want to send a word to Jesus:
1) Intimacy with Jesus Christ does not exempt us from illness, issues, irritations, and injury. In Genesis 3, there is a fight between Eve (women) and the snake (the devil). There is someone that is bigger and better than any devil. The closer we get to Jesus, the more we will be tested. New level, new devil. In trouble, just got out of trouble, or trouble is on its way. We are not in this all by ourselves.
2) We have a tendency to want immediate relief. That's why we want fast food. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus about their brother Lazarus being sick. They wanted Jesus to come right away. Jesus does not always come when we want him to, however he is always on time. Lazarus had died and was buried for four (4) days before Jesus came. Mary and Martha were probably wondering if Jesus was really their friend and if he was really going to show up. Mary and Martha attracted a group of people that came and wondered if Jesus was going to show up.
3) We all need a Plan J – a Plan Jesus that is. Sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives so that he can reveal to us who he really is. Sometimes God has to let some things completely die in our lives. God will send an anointing through the place. Jesus went to the tomb and called Lazarus’ name. Jesus had the power to raise Lazarus up from the dead and bring him back to life.
We must be like Mary and Martha and send word to Jesus when we need help. When the sisters send word to Jesus, worship happens in the graveyard. Something happens in the graveyard. Stand still and see the salvation of God. Go in looking for Jesus, and then come out of the graveyard. Jesus can raise up anything in your life. Learn how to trust God. Also, learn how to lock arms with a believing sister. Someone who can prevail in prayer and move the heart of God. Learn how to press on in our relationships. Amen.