“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26 NIV)
Within John’s record of the life of Jesus, Jesus says, “believes” fourteen times and in the rest of the New Covenant, it is mentioned eleven other times. Of course in the King James Version, the word believeth is used (meaning the same thing) and occurs in both Old and New for a total of forty-five times. Since I’m expounding on what Jesus said and why, let’s take a closer look at why belief is so important.
Whatever a person believes–has immoveable faith in–good or bad, that is usually indicative of how a person lives. If they believe in a horoscope–they live their life according to the horoscope. If they believe Oprah Winfrey is wiser than God, they live their life according to Oprah. If they believe than one political party is superior to another, they live their life supporting that party and criticizing the other. If people believe they’ll become rich by gambling, they gamble on a regular basis (and the lottery is gambling). If they believe that God’s Word can ever be changed to pacify fleshly dictates, they live their lives doing whatever they want because they do not understand–God’s Word never changes and neither will His judgment.
But let’s get back to what’s taking place in Jesus’ life when He said what He said. He had been that Lazarus was sick and instead of going to him immediately, Jesus delayed his departure. He told his disciples that Lazarus was sleep and they thought he was just asleep because of sickness. Jesus then told them, he was dead.
v. 15 And for your sake I am glad I was not there, so you may believe. But let us go to him.
v. 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
v.17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
v. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,
v 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.
v. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
v. 21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.
v. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
v. 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
v. 24 Martha answered, ” I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
And after Jesus asked her the question about what she believed, she said, she believed. I can imagine the heartache Martha felt over losing her brother and some have said (their interpretations of her statement) that she was accusing Jesus of waiting too long to come to them. She didn’t understand the magnitude of what was about to happen, but she believed that Jesus would take care of it and He did.
Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead and buried so that all who observed Him would witness the miracle and share it with others. He simply looked unto His Father and then commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb and he did. Faith–can move mountains, cause the dead to rise and the sick to recover–if we will only believe–have immoveable faith in Him.
Lazarus rose from the dead to live again, but we don’t know how long he lived until he succumbed to natural, then. What we do know is that all are appointed a time to die, naturally, but those who believe Jesus is the resurrection and when He returns, the dead shall rise and the rest of us caught up with Him, shall live for all eternity in heaven.
We simply have to believe–having faith in Him–and not man’s suppositions about death and dying, sickness and disease, sin and holiness. If we believed and lived our beliefs in Him, the world would be in a much better place. Do we believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do we believe that His blood, shed on the cross at Calvary, was shed for us–that we might have access to heaven, through Him? Do we believe that we have the power–through Holy Spirit–to live without sin in our lives? If the answer is yes, we believe, then why aren’t we living what we say we believe? Our active obedience to God demonstrates our love for Him and our belief–our immoveable faith in Him. Lord, help us!
More about what Jesus said and why, next time.