So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now 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 of God, God will give You.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
[John 11:17-23 NKJV]
Whenever Jesus sees belief from one of His own He responds; so when Martha says “I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You” Jesus replies with “Your brother will rise again.” But what does Martha understand by that? The passage now goes on to show more depth, and we see that Martha understands in part at least, if not fully what Jesus means …
Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
[John 11:24-27 NKJV]
Martha believes because she knows Jesus and even if she does not fully know what He means, she is prepared to trust Him. Jesus hopes that she will see and understand that this is not just something for ‘the last day’, but that, if we know and trust Jesus, all His promises are for now and today. Jesus only asks that we believe in Him and trust Him; the rest and His rest will follow.
This is something that is difficult for any of us to fully grasp. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
[2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV]
This can be restated as ‘His promises are true and in Him are trustworthy.’ There is no reason to doubt Him. So, when Jesus says a thing we consider to be impossible, or against the laws of nature as we understand them, we should believe the impossible, because of the source — the one who says it.
The name Martha translates as ‘she was rebellious’; Mary (or Miriam) is ‘their rebellion’. I’m sure there are several ways that this could be interpreted, but I believe — in this instance at least — we should see that we are all rebellious to a degree, until we are perfected in Christ. All of us can miss what Jesus says to us — because of the dark cave we are trying to leave behind.
Jesus says that He is ‘the resurrection and the life’, but He also asks ‘Do you believe this?’
Joy: Strength in the Lord
Self is not to be annihilated, but to be rightly centred in God. Self-realisation has to be turned into Christ-realisation. Our Lord taught that the principal purpose of our creation is “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever”; that the sun total of my self is to be consciously centred in God.
[from ‘Biblical Psychology’]