December 8, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Let’s continue considering the question that Jesus asked Martha in John 11:27: “Do you believe this? ” Here is our featured Scripture, John 11:24 through 27:
Jesus said to her, “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.”
We saw that Martha was busy with household duties (see Luke 12:40), but she still gleaned a lot of information from Jesus’ teaching! And, apparently, her understanding of Jesus’ truth in our featured Scripture shows that she was quite familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures! In review, Martha told Jesus, “…I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
• She understood and believed the prophecies that Messiah (Christ in the New Testament) would come into the world to save Israel!
✞ It was more than a physical military deliverance from Roman oppression!
✞ The Messiah’s mission involved spiritual salvation! (See Isaiah 53:5, 6, 10-12).
• She understood and believed that Jesus was…
✞ …the Christ, which means the anointed One! (See Psalm 2:2; Isaiah 61:1-3).
✞ …the Son of God, who is to come into the world ! (See Isaiah 9:6, 7).
• She was led and taught by the Holy Spirit! (See John 6:44; I John 2:27; 5:6).
Let’s go on: We must remember the situation in which this family of the town of Bethany found themselves. They were three siblings: Lazarus, Martha, and Mary – apparently all unmarried. We are told in John 11:1 that “…Lazarus…was sick….” Thirteen verses later in John 11:14 Jesus told His disciples, “Lazarus is dead.” By the time the Lord showed arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had “…been dead four days.” (John 11:39). Obviously, his sisters, Martha and Mary were mourning for their brother!
It is in this context that Jesus shared these great truths with Martha! Before we examine these great truths, I want to make a point: More than once great truths were shared with just one person! (See for examples Matthew 1:19-21; Luke 1:11-17; 26-33; John 9:35-39; II Corinthians 12:2-4). But it is evident that the Lord wanted these great truths to be shared with many people!
Jesus said to Martha…
• John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection and the life.” He did not say, “I will be resurrected,” and “I give life to others,” although this is true! But we usually miss a great truth that is hidden in the first two words – I am…! In the Gospel of John Jesus referred to Himself as “I AM ” twelve times! (In many translations, this is not emphasized, but the Modern King James Version gets it right – as seen in the following verses).
✞ There are five absolute “I AM ” statements:
▸ John 6:20 – When the Lord walked on water to his disciples struggling through a storm, they thought He was a ghost. “But He said to them, I AM! Do not be afraid.”
▸ John 8:24 – Jesus told the unbelieving Pharisees, “…if you do not believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins.”
▸ John 8:28 – Again to the Pharisees: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you shall know that I AM….”
▸ John 8:58 – Finally, in the same conversation: “Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham came into being, I AM! ”
▸ John 18:4, 5 – When they came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Then Jesus…went out and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I AM!’ ”
✞ There are seven metaphorical “I AM ” statements:
▸ John 6:35, 48, and 51 – “I am the Bread of life….I am the living Bread which came down from heaven.”
▸ John 8:12, and 9:5 – “I am the Light of the world.”
▸ John 10:7, and 9 – “I am the door of the sheep.”
▸ John 10:11, and 14 – “I am the Good Shepherd.”
▸ John 11:25 – “I am the Resurrection and the Life! ”
▸ John 14:6 – “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life….”
▸ John 15:1 – “I am the True Vine….”
Of course, when Jesus is identifying Himself by these “I AM ” statements, He is using the name by which God introduced Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14 and 15: “I AM WHO I AM….This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.” Jesus was boldly stating that He is the very God of the Old Testament! I think Martha may have gotten that! It could be one of the big reasons why she knew Jesus to be the Messiah – the anointed One come from the Father – the Son of God !
We will continue this series, Do You Believe This? on Monday.