The Faith of Martha


John 11:23-27, “Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”

I love “contexting” Bible passages, especially things that Jesus said.  So often we forget that He didn’t just speak His words into a vacuum.  They were spoken in a distinct place and time and to a hand-picked audience.

For example, John 3:16 was spoken to Nicodemus.  I love that.

In the above passage, we hear Jesus’ declaration that He is the resurrection and the life.  That declaration, one of His great “I am” statements, was delivered privately to Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus.

Her brother Lazarus had just died (and Jesus would soon raise him from the dead).

What I love about this story is that we so often give Martha a bad rap, making her personality almost two-dimensional, but Jesus shows us the fullness of her personality by the interplay of His loving relationship with her.

Martha may have been over-preoccupied with making the dinner in an earlier passage, but here she is all ears when her Lord speaks.  And, because she is, He gives her one of the greatest declarations to ever fall from His lips.  “I am the resurrection and the life . . .”

You can see that, while Martha hesitates to believe that Lazarus is about to rise again, she is hoping against hope that it is true!

I wish I could have seen her face at that moment, as she spoke with the Lord.  I wish even more than that, I could have seen her face when Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead!

Aren’t we all like Martha—a bundle of contradictions?  Belief and unbelief, a flurry of activity when we should be quiet (and perhaps quietness when we should get busy . . .).

I love that Jesus meets us all where we are and loves us into seeing Who He is.

May we all be people of faith like Martha!

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