The news was not good. A close friend was gravely sick, and he was far away. He just knew in his heart that his friend was going to die. When he finally arrived near the house to check on his friend and his friend’s family, the look on Martha’s face confirmed it: her brother Lazarus was dead.
Martha assured Jesus that she knew that if Jesus would have been there, he could have healed Lazarus. Even now, she knew that whatever Jesus asked of God, that God would answer. She was asking for something big, even if she didn’t know exactly what she was asking for.
Jesus boldly declared to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die – ever.” And then he asked her, “Do you believe this?” Martha answered immediately, “Yes, Lord. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” (John 11:25-27)
Martha got it. She knew who he was. Others around on that day needed to see for themselves that Jesus was the ever-living, eternal, Promised One, the Son of God who came into the world to save people from their sins and give them eternal life. And on this day he would show them his power to raise people from the dead spiritually through this miraculous sign of raising Lazarus from the dead physically.
Jesus’ disciples needed to see this. The friends and family who had gathered to mourn Lazarus’ death needed to see this. The religious leaders needed to see this.
We needed to see this.
Martha went and called for her sister Mary to come talk to Jesus. Mary repeated the same words to Jesus that her sister had spoken. She said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32) Jesus saw her crying, and he was deeply moved with compassion. He wept himself. He wept because he was human and his good friend was dead. He wept because he was the Son of God, and many people did not yet have faith in him as Lord and Savior.
Jesus went to the tomb, and he prayed. He thanked God for always hearing his prayers. He thanked God for this opportunity to display his life-giving power over death so that those standing there could believe in him as the Messiah sent from God. Then Jesus said with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
Dead men don’t normally come out of the tomb. The Bible describes this dead man’s response:
The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go.” (John 11:44)
Jesus has the power to raise people from the dead. Lazarus was no mindless zombie coming out of the tomb. He was a real person, who had really died, who came back from the dead with restored health and a clear mind, and a miraculous story to tell!
So the big question remains: Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and that he gives eternal life to all who believe in him?
If you do believe, then that changes everything.
- It will change how you view physical death. You will see that physical death is just a gateway to spending eternity with the Lord. For those of us who are saved by Jesus, we will never spiritually die – ever.
- It will change how you view delays. Jesus delayed going to the home of Lazarus so that he could powerfully and dramatically demonstrate who he was as the great “I AM.” When God delays in answering your prayers, continue to trust in him. He may have big things to show you!
- It will change your discussions. Jesus’ conversations with Mary and Martha were not about cooking or sports or gardening. They were about eternal life.
- It will change what deeply moves you. Some people are passionate about politics, sports or other issues. Jesus was deeply moved about unbelief, and about the death of someone he loved – the real things of life.
- It will change what you consider displays of power. Nations display power by huge armies, big budgets, and political decisions. Jesus displays power by changing individuals from the inside out. He gives eternal life to all who believe. Truly, he brings the (spiritually) dead back to life!
Do you believe this?