Mary and Martha

It’s interesting to contrast Martha with Mary in John 11. What Martha said to the Lord was doctrinally correct.

I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day… I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.11

Her confession almost sounds like a creed.

By contrast, Mary fell at the Lord’s feet and wept bitterly. And Jesus acted.

Martha didn’t seem to understand that she stood in the presence of the One who wasn’t just a great Teacher, but the Author of life.

While her almost creedal confession was doctrinally accurate, her doubt bled through when she protested after Jesus asked for the stone to be rolled away.

Jesus’ words to Martha about His being the Resurrection and the Life evaporated before the reality of the tomb.

His response to her was telling: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

We cannot fault Martha. She’s too much like us. Faith often takes a nosedive when we are on the brink of tragedy. At such times, we forget the Lord’s words.

Sometimes confessions and creeds, as important as they are, are not enough to move God to act. Only falling at His feet and weeping will suffice.

At the same time, when we are standing on the raw, bleeding edge of tragedy, our spiritual instincts can become paralyzed. And the only thing that we can hold onto is our confession of faith. As Watchman Nee said “The best prayer of all is not ‘I want,’ but ‘Thou art.’”

Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Take from Frank Viola, author’s book God’s Favorite Place on Earth

The First Time I Saw His Face

The Day I Met Jesus is a refreshing look at five women in the Gospels, telling their stories in a way that brings them to life but at the same time based on careful research into the real world in which they lived. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down. Through the eyes of women whose lives Jesus touched, this book invites us to see Jesus more deeply. It ministered to broken places in my own heart.”

Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Step into the first century, as your senses and imagination are engaged in Mary DeMuth’s masterful biblical narrative, deftly exploring the hearts and minds of five women who met the Savior. Then Frank Viola brings his own gifts to the page, opening the Scriptures to help us understand each account more fully. Together, their voices sing of the beauty of Christ and the redemption He offers. The Day I Met Jesus is truly a wonderful book.”

Liz Curtis Higgs, bestselling author of Bad Girls of the Bible

“We all long to lift the veil of history and catch a glimpse of the real story–the one that makes our hearts pound, our faith grow, and our lives change. That’s exactly what Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth offer in this compelling book. You will never look at Scripture or God’s work in your own heart the same way again after you close the final page.”

Holley Gerth

“Elegant, stimulating, rewarding, this probe into Jesus’ relationship with women packages the best of biblical scholarship and theology in the spellbinding wraps of storytelling.”

Leonard Sweet, bestselling author; professor (Drew University, George Fox University); chief contributor to

“Story. History. His-Story. This book has all of these and immediately gripped my heart. I held my breath as I read about women who encountered Jesus in their day. I absolutely love books that compel me to love Jesus more. Together, Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth created a masterful biblical narrative that reminds us once again how Jesus feels about the sinner who desperately needs saving. He loves us. He came to save us. Enjoy every page of this book. You’ll be glad you did.”

Susie Larson

“Many Christians fail to experience the full power of the Bible’s stories because they never learned how to imaginatively ‘get inside’ the lives of biblical characters to make them come alive. I don’t know of any book that better helps readers do this than The Day I Met Jesus. Combining imaginative creativity, historical scholarship, and great story-telling, Viola and DeMuth help readers enter into the lives of five women in the Gospels to experience Jesus from their perspective. And by this means, they help readers deepen their own understanding of, and love for, Jesus. After reading this poignant and gripping book, you won’t view these five women, Jesus, or yourself the same way!”

Greg Boyd

The Day I Met Jesus by Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth is destined to be a classic. Five exquisitely imaginative stories of women from the Gospels describe lives turned upside down by their encounters with Jesus. The book reveals the beauty of our Savior–His character, His compassion, His humility, His humanity, and His divinity. This gem of a book will move you, inspire you, and very likely, set you free.”

Felicity Dale

“In The Day I Met Jesus, Frank and Mary demonstrate lucid insight into the balanced, candid, focused, tender, and penetrating manner of our Master–Jesus the Christ. See again the Savior who was God and Man embodied to show and transform us by His unpretentious holiness, empowering authenticity–without scorn or condemnation, transmitting love’s purity, life’s vitality, and hope’s eternity. I commend the authors and this book to you: both will enrich and enlarge your thoughts and your life.”

Pastor Jack W. Hayford

“The women you’ve always read about. Now, in real life. This fresh new take on timeless stories of the Bible’s fiercest heroines will leave you inspired, empowered, and thrilled for more. Thank you, DeMuth and Viola, for this gift to women everywhere.”

Claire Diaz-Ortiz

The Day I Met Jesus bears the souls of five familiar women from Scripture and the deep significance of their personal encounters with Jesus. Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth have crafted a beautiful account of these women’s stories with a rawness that punctuates the significance of our Savior’s grace. May we be so moved to experience the love, joy, hope, and grace of the Jesus portrayed in these pages.”

Jenni Catron

For more on Frank Viola author’s new book, see

The Mighty Name of Jesus

by Frank Viola author

In the Scriptures, the name of a person represents the person themselves. Thus, when the early Christians did something “in Jesus’ name,” they were doing it in the presence and the authority of Jesus.

Therefore, doing or saying something in Jesus’ name is like exercising a God-mandated power-of–attorney.

Jesus’ person is united to His name. For this reason, the New Testament uses believing in Jesus and believing in His name synonymously (John 1:12; 2:23; 3:18; 1 John 5:13).

Before Jesus rose again and ascended, He told His disciples that they hadn’t asked anything in His name (John 16:24). But He told them that after His ascension, whatsoever they asked in His name (or His person) would be granted them by the Father (John 16:23; 14:13–15).

The disciples cast out demons and healed the sick in Jesus’ name (Mark 16:17–18; Acts 3:1–6, 16; 16:18; James 5:14).

Salvation is found in no other name given under heaven (Acts 4:12). The name of Jesus stands above every other name, and at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow in all three realms—heaven, hell, and earth (Phil. 2:9–11).

Jesus Today

So who is Jesus today?

Is He someone who we remember and try to emulate? Or is He someone who is living and active and has a specific ministry?

In the previous pages, we’ve seen that the ascension of Jesus marks the commencement of His present-day ministry.

In reaching His own destiny, Jesus reached it for us, too. Christ led us to the place that neither Abraham, Moses, Joshua, nor David could ever lead us.

Jesus presents Himself to God the Father as high priest, as both offerer and offering. Since we are in Christ, as the Father receives Jesus, He also receives you and me.

When Christ ascended into heaven, He did not drop his human body. He is still the human Jesus with a glorified human body. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul called the glorified body of Jesus a “spiritual body” (v. 44). This doesn’t mean that He was a ghost. It means that His renewed physical body was energized by the Holy Spirit after His resurrection. In His glorified body, Jesus could eat and drink physical food. He could also pass through walls (Luke 24:13-35; John 20:26).

Consequently, Jesus continues His incarnation after His ascension and receives our humanity into Himself. He didn’t dispose of our humanity, but took it with Him into heavenly realms. Jesus penetrated the splendor of heaven wearing our flesh, bringing us to His Father.

Theologically speaking, the ascension reveals that Jesus’ incarnation continues, and the Father, Spirit, and Son have taken up our humanity into God’s bosom forever.

Jesus retains His humanity and His divinity and reigns over the world as the God-Man until all enemies are put under His feet (1 Cor. 15:20–28).

We, the collective people of God, are the continuing incarnation and presence of Jesus on the earth today.

by Frank Viola, author

The Lord’s Instrument

The Lord’s instrument for complete victory over the world is a company of people who have come under Christ’s rule and who possess His life and authority. They—the body of Jesus Christ—are the tool that God uses to crush Satan’s head practically and visibly.

The ekklesia fills the gap between the ascension and the second coming.

Where is Jesus now? He’s reigning at the right hand of God the Father until the day He returns to planet earth in glory. Christ is “at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him” (1 Pet. 3:22).

For this reason, Scripture calls Him the ruler of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5).

But as the body of Christ wages warfare against God’s Enemy, exercising the reality of D-Day, Jesus will finally return, and His kingdom of God will fill the whole earth “as the waters cover the sea.” V-Day will be here.

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Hab. 2:14)

Then comes the end, when He [Jesus] hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. (1 Cor. 15:24–26)

Even though he is a defeated foe, Satan repudiates the right of God to take his throne. And he is still seeking to take over all things.

But Jesus has already destroyed his power. God’s Enemy, then, is now an illegal alien roaming the earth.

One of Satan’s royal tactics is to convince humans that he doesn’t exist and to keep them ignorant of their true condition. Satan’s basic nature is selfishness. He is a liar, a thief, a killer, and a devourer. And his main tool is deception (John 8:44; 10:10–11; 1 Pet. 5:8).

By contrast, God is looking for His people to come into His kingdom and stand on this earth for His rights, making Him absolute Lord and doing warfare with His Enemy.

Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15)

The central question of the universe must be answered by us all, and it is this: Who will have your worship? Who will have your life? Who will have your allegiance?

Instead of Christians waiting for the Lord to return, God is waiting for the church to step into its role of taking the authority of Jesus and doing damage to Satan’s kingdom. Not by political or human energy and power. But by the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Frank Viola, author

Holding Fast to the Head by Frank Viola Author

Make no mistake about it. Holding fast to the headship of Christ (as Paul put it in Colossians) is not something that we are to practice as a last resort. Too often the mentality among Christians is, “I will do whatever I can, using my own cleverness, gifts, and abilities, and only rely upon the Lord when I cannot do any more.” This is foolish thinking at best. Our human ideas and philosophies cannot fulfill one fragment of God’s work.

A great deal of our ecclesiastical traditions and programs are nothing more than wood, hay, and stubble. The church is a spiritual organism. Only that which comes out of God’s indwelling life can accomplish His purpose.

Under the old covenant, Moses commanded that no oil be poured upon man’s flesh (Exod. 30:32). So too, the Spirit of God cannot anoint that which comes out of our human fleshly ideas. Recall the words of the Lord Jesus: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NKJV).

All of this will meet nodding heads from most Christians. But is it a reality? Is Jesus Christ truly the head of your church, or is someone else? Does the structure of your church allow for Jesus Christ to lead and direct His people through His body, or does it prevent that from happening? And how about your life?

God desires to sum up all things in His Son. That which originates from fallen humanity’s ideas, traditions, and systems will not last. Only that which comes out of Christ can find God’s highest blessing.

Even now, the Lord is awaiting a people to give Him that place of preeminence. When God’s people put themselves under His direct headship, the result is unity (Ps. 133). One day Christ will indeed be the “head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22 ESV), nothing excluded. His present-day ministry as head of the church is moving the world in that direction.

Jesus, Head of the Church

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Colossians 1:18 KJV

Throughout the New Testament, there is a subtle distinction between the headship of Christ and the lordship of Jesus.

The headship of Christ virtually always has in view Christ’s relationship with His body (Eph. 1:22–23; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:19). The lordship of Christ virtually always has in view His relationship with His individual disciples (Matt. 7:21–22; Luke 6:46; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9, 13; 1 Cor. 6:17).

What lordship is to the individual, headship is to the church. Headship and lordship are two dimensions of the same thing. Headship is lordship worked out in the corporate life of God’s people.

A believer may truly submit to the lordship of Jesus in his or her personal life. He may obey what he understands in the Bible. She may pray fervently. He may live self-sacrificially. Yet at the same time, these people may know nothing about shared ministry, mutual submission, or corporate testimonyTo be subject to the headship of Jesus is to respond to His will regarding the life and practice of the church. Submission to the headship of Christ includes obtaining God’s mind through mutual ministry and sharing, obeying the Holy Spirit through mutual subjection and servanthood, and testifying to Jesus Christ collectively through mutual sharing and corporate witness.

Submission to the headship of Christ incarnates the New Testament reality that Jesus is not only Lord of the lives of women and men—He is also Master of the life of the church. One of the moments where this became strongly apparent was through the life of a young brother in Christ who came as a visitor to one of our open-participatory church meetings in which I was a part.  The young man was saved before he visited us. And from what I could tell, he had a strong devotional life. But he would show up once in a while for our meetings, and when he did show up, he was quiet through most of them.

He continued to visit our gatherings on and off for several months. Then he moved away to another city to attend college there.

Several months later, he returned. Through a  series of poor choices, frustrating events, and personal convictions, he ended his academic career. With a broken voice, he communicated that more than anything he simply missed being a part of the church. I found this interesting as he wasn’t exactly devoted to the group when he was in town, and he never really participated or functioned much.

The next week, however, he threw himself into the life of the church. If there was a practical need, he was helping with it. If there was an opportunity to pursue Christ with others, he showed up. If there was a decision-making meeting, he was there and he participated. He even started to function in our open meetings, and his contributions were edifying. Then slowly, we began to see his friends coming to the meetings. His friends were inspired by his story of redemption, faith, and community. And they were drawn to “come and see.”

This young man’s life was changed forever by simply seeing a group of people responding to a Jesus he didn’t know too well. He was seeing Jesus in corporate expression. But it took his going to college, having a bad experience there, and coming back again to realize he needed Christ and His body. He was awakened to the fact that He needed face-to-face community.

This little story is so familiar and common that it can be multiplied by many who have been part of churches that are strong on intense community and mutual sharing. The young man’s story is an example of what it means to make Christ head over one’s life.

Interestingly, Paul said that when Christ’s headship is established in His body, He will become head over all things in the universe (Col. 1:16–18).

by Frank Viola, author