Who Am I
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 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. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
Of course, I know who you are, Jesus!
When I was growing up, I used to attend church camps, and believe it or not, they were so much fun. We would go with about 10 other churches to a campground in Maryland and we played every conceivable game known to tire a teenager out. The goal seemed to be to get as near to death without crossing the line, using physical games under a blazing sun, but thanks to a cool pond, it all worked out. Nerd Alert: I also was on the Bible memorization team. You guessed it, my job as Captain of the team as well as premiere player was to memorize huge blocks of the Bible word for word. The more we were able to quote verbatim the more points we scored. I remain undefeated to this day, though that never reads well on a resume, anyway. The leader would stand in front of me and ask me a question about a reference, and my job was to rattle off as much as I could with no errors. I remember being asked the question and my eyes would glaze over and I would begin to quote. That sounds good, but the problem was that all I did was memorize, it never meant anything to me other than just words with the point of winning. I never was taught or knew how to apply what I memorized; it was just information, and information without application is useless.
The encounter between Jesus and Martha here is truly incredible. Martha’s brother and very close friend of Jesus was sick while Jesus was only less than two miles away. They contacted Jesus in plenty of time for him to come and do what Jesus does, heal. Jesus gets the message and does nothing but waits until Lazarus dies and then finally makes his way to them. This story captures the confrontation of a hurt and confused Martha and Jesus. Martha starts with a little rebuke telling Jesus that Lazarus wouldn’t have died if he had just come when called, followed quickly by a hopeful statement that God would still do something if Jesus asked, right?? Instead of apologizing Jesus looks into Martha’s eyes and says, “Your brother will rise again”. Instead of falling to her knees in thanks for shouting a praise, I imagine Martha’s eyes glazing over and her reciting what little children are taught about life after death, that everyone will be raised to stand before God. Martha has the right information here but sadly, she did not realize that the application was standing right in front of her, but thankfully Jesus isn’t going to move until she gets this, and neither should we. Jesus makes one of the boldest and plainest statements of his purpose here on earth. Jesus tells Martha that HE IS the resurrection and the life and if Martha believes this, death would have no power. Jesus shakes Martha from her Sunday School lesson and confronts her with a life changing truth and asks the big question, “DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?” Here is the moment of truth, either Martha did, or she didn’t, and Jesus would know the difference. Martha looks into Jesus’ eyes and proclaims her truth, “Yes Jesus, I believe in You!” Now it is our turn.
On today’s road: We have walked this portion of the road before. Knowing words about Jesus is not enough. Knowing his birthday, his favorite food, disciple, or place to visit will not solve our sin problem. Jesus has stopped us on the road and looking deeply into our eyes announces his intention to free us from our chains of sin and asks the eternal question. So I have to echo Jesus, Do you believe this?