This morning's lectionary gave the option of reading about Jesus raising Lazarus from death to life. The reading did not include the passage when Jesus said to Martha, "I AM the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
I don't know if that just stopped you in your tracks, but it did me. Jesus is about to call Lazarus from death back to life. Jesus, who is Life itself, is about to taste death and be raised to life again. And, he he asks Martha ... and us ... if we believe in Him, we shall not die but live forever. Do you believe this?
Do you believe this?
Strangely enough, my first reading this morning was from the book The Secrets of Hebrew Words. The book fell open to the word "life". God moment! The author, Rabbi Benjamin Blech, said,
"The word for life in Hebrew ends with YiM, the grammatical indicator of plurality. We are granted not one life, but two; not HaY but HaYYiM.We are granted not one life but two ... because we believe in Jesus Christ, the One who is Life and promises it abundantly!
Why does the Torah begin with the letter bet, which corresponds to the number 2?* Because our sages teach that God created not one world, but two. There is olam ha-zeh, this world, and olam ha-ba, the world to come.
Our life must always be lived with the awareness that the grave is not our end, but merely the second beginning. 'Know whence you came and to where you are going and before Whom you are destined to give final accounting' [Ethics of the Fathers 3:1]"
Are we not all like Lazarus? Do we not all need to be brought back from death to life? Are we not all like Martha? Do we not all need to believe that Jesus is the resurrection ... the One who brings back to life ... and is the life? In this we shall live! Not one life, but two!
The Secrets of Hebrew Words, Benjamin Blech, 1996. Jason Aronson Inc., Northvale New Jersey. p. 45.
*Bet is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet.