December 13, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
There is so much in that we can learn from John 11:24 through 27!
Jesus said to her [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. He who
believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and
believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him,
“Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to
come into the world.”
How is it that Martha came to make her bold faith statement in verse 27? “…I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
• As related in the last blog, she believed…
✞ …that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah (see Psalm 2:2; Isaiah 61:1-3) long promised to Israel and the world!
✞ …that He was the Son of God, who is to come into the world (See Isaiah 9:6 and 7). And so believing, that He was God the Son! For Jesus was identifying Himself with the Father by His I am… statement – “I am the resurrection and the life.”
• We looked at all twelve “I AM ” statements in the Gospel of John:
✞ five absolute “I AM ” statements (See John 6:20; 8:24; 8:28; 8:58; 18:4, 5).
✞ seven metaphorical “I AM ” statements (See 6:35, 48, 51; 8:12, 9:5; 10:7, 9: 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1)
But Martha preceded her bold faith statement with these two words: “Yes, Lord….” She called Him “Lord,” her Master! It was common in Biblical times for a woman to call a man who had authority over her, “lord ” We are told this concerning Sarah, Abraham’s wife in I Peter 3:6: “…Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord….” This may chafe some in our culture today, but it occurred back then because the male was considered the absolute head (under God) of the family. But she calling Jesus Lord was more than that! For she recognized that He is not just the head of the family, but the Head of all! (See Ephesians 1:19-23; 4:15; Colossians 1;16-18; 2:9, 10). And her “yes” was in response to Jesus’ great I am… statement in verses 25 and 26. Martha was in agreement with what her Lord Jesus had just said!
Now let’s consider what Jesus had just said (remembering the situation Martha and her sister Mary were in: Their brother Lazarus had died just four days before! – See John 11:39)…
• John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection and the life.”
✞ Only God can give physical life! (See Genesis 2:7; Ezekiel 37:1-10).
✞ Only God can conquer death! (See Romans 6:9; I Corinthians 15:54-57; II Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14, 15; Revelation 21:4).
✞ Only God can resurrect someone from the dead! (See John 10:17, 18; II Corinthians 13:4; Revelation 1:18).
✞ Only God can give eternal life! (See John 3:15, 16; 3:36; 5:24; 6:40, 47; 17:1, 2; Romans 6:23; I John 5:11-13).
…so Jesus must be God!
• John 11:25 – “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” This speaks at first reflection about those who die righteous, that is, those who die being declared righteous by the grace of God because they have believed His promise of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ! (See John 5:24; 10:27, 28; 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 4:22-25; I John 5:11-13). They have eternal life! And so, I think, Martha must have equated Jesus’ statetment to her brother having eternal life! After all, and according to John 11:39, she did not think in terms of Lazarus coming back to life immediately!
• John 11:26 – “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” But Lazarus did believe! And he did die! So she must have again related this statement of the Lord to the spiritual realm of eternal life.
• John 11:26 – “Do you believe this? ” This is the challenging question Jesus asks us all!
✞ It is more than mental assent! Even the the hosts of Satan make mental assent that Jesus is God the Son, the Savior and Lord! For it tells us in James 2:19, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble! ” They have factual knowledge. But such knowledge must be accompanied by faith – and a life that shows forth that faith! (See James 2:14-26). The writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 4:2 speaks of those many thousands who perished in the wilderness during the time of Moses: “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” Mixed with faith – it is a heart belief (a whole-being belief) in and into God’s redemptive work through His Son dying in our place and rising again! (See Romans 10:9-13).
✞ There are those who will say in the day of judgment, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” (Matthew 7:22). But it was lip-service, not from the heart! For Jesus “…will declare to them; I never knew you; depart from Me, you practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23).
✞ It is faith that results in action – a life lived out that shows forth faith! As it says in James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Martha may have had her doubts, her faith-struggles. But her obedience in the end showed her faith to be real and true! When Jesus challenged her, “Do you believe this? ” she answered, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” And her life showed it!
Do you believe this? What is your response? How is your life lived out to show it?