John Chapter 11
By Pastor Jason
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “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?" (John 11:21-27)
The first time I read John chapter 11, my perception highlighted a couple things that didn’t seem right. In verse 5 it says, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (John 11:5-6). I thought there must be some mistake. So, I read it again; but, there it was again…still the same. Jesus heard that the one he loved was sick, so he stayed right where he was for two more days. What? Why? That doesn’t look right or feel right. Then, I read Jesus’ words in verse 14, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him” (John 11:14-15). Why would Jesus be glad about someone’s death if the scripture clearly says that He loved him?
Imagine if Jesus said that about your life? “So and so has died, and I’m glad I was not there." Ever felt like you needed Jesus so badly, but He wasn’t there? Or maybe you really needed Jesus at a specific time, but He wasn’t there when you needed Him to be there? Maybe He’s shown up later, and blessed you in another area of your life, but in your mind, it’s “too little too late,” and now there is no hope in that area of your life. For you, that part of your life is over. Think of it this way… If your friend was ill, to the point of approaching death, would you say, “thanks for telling me, but I’m going to stay right where I am for two more days before I consider doing anything?” No, you would jump up because the sooner you can get there, the more you can help, right? If we wait, it might be too late!
Martha is mourning, she’s hurting, and not understanding. And she runs to meet Jesus, only to tell Him “Lord, if you had only been there in time, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). But, some of us are like Mary, who remained seated in the house. Those like Mary will remain seated and still, even in the house of God. They will believe God for eternity and heaven, but they won’t believe Him for right now in the present, because He didn’t show up “on time” for one thing or another in their lives. Their hearts and minds say “Lord, you could have spared me from this, and I could have been a great person used by you, but you came too late, and now that part of my life is dead.” So, they move on from that, but keep faith in other areas.
Martha is similar because she says, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you” (John 11:22) In other words Martha is saying, “I know you are who you say you are, but I have questions. I have doubts.”
Ever been there? Ever had questions about God’s timing? Questions about what you believe about God and when or how it plays out in your life? Jesus takes a moment with Martha and tells her, “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23) Martha believes that…Martha still has some faith and so “Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (John 11:24). Jesus continues with Martha using this as a teaching moment. Not just for her, but for us today! “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?” (John 11:25-26).
Jesus is speaking present tense here, as though Lazarus is dead. So, the question becomes, if He’s so powerful, why does he wait so long? Why does he wait till I lose heart, lose strength, and lose hope? This is why…..The resurrection life is not for the living; it’s for the dead. You don’t get resurrected while you’re alive; you get resurrected after you're dead.
Paul writes in Romans “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). Paul writes further saying, “For one who has died has been set free from sin.” What is our answer to the same question Jesus asked Martha, “Do you believe this?"
When we are dead, we can’t go to Jesus, but He comes to us! He is the remedy! He is the resurrection! He will come to any of those who can hear His voice and say, “Take away the stone,” (John 11:39) “Unbind him, and let him go” (John 11:44). You see Jesus was showing Martha then, what He’s telling us today; that He doesn’t only have the remedy, He IS the remedy. The glory, greatness, identity, and power of Jesus is not found in the remedy Jesus can give….HE IS the remedy. He gives us Himself! He is life!
God’s glory does not consist in sparing the faithful from life’s difficulties, but precisely in refusing to do so, he shows that he is able to make the impossible possible through his Son.
When you and I hurt deeply, what we really need is not an explanation from God but a revelation of God. We need to see how great God is; we need to recover our lost perspective on life. Things get out of proportion when we are suffering, and it takes a reminder, vision, or revelation of who Jesus truly is to get life’s dimensions adjusted again.
So, do you believe this? Jesus loves each and every one of us individually. He calls individual people out of the tombs, out of the graves, out of death and out of sin. He’s focused on you…He’s God. He hasn’t forgotten about you or passed you by. He’s never late, but always on time! He’s calling you…..out of whatever it is that you’ve rolled a stone over….whatever it is you thought would never heal, whatever it is you thought would never change….whatever prison door you thought was sealed shut. Whatever chains have you bound. He’s calling you to get up…so He can say “unbind Him and let him go.” He’s simply calling your name….He’s saying to you I am the resurrection!
“Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).
It’s time to Believe!