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?” John 11:25-26 NRSV
Throughout life, we face pivotal questions that mold who we become. For example, who will we pick for my friends? Will we go to college? What profession will we pursue? Will we marry? Will we have children? Some of these questions practically answer themselves, yet others are more soul-searching and deliberate. Of course, we are not always in complete control of our destinies; external forces sometimes dictate the outcome of some of these questions. But if we look at our answers to those things over which we have control, we often can see how we’ve arrived where we are now.
Before he raises her brother Lazarus from the dead, Jesus states, “I am the resurrection and the life,” and follows with the most life-changing question: "Do you believe this?” Lazarus will be raised, if even temporarily, but he will die again. Jesus, however, has come to offer everlasting life.
There is no procrastination in Martha's answer. She doesn't reply, "I'm not sure," or "Can I get back to you?" No, she responds confidently, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (v. 27) She does not doubt that Jesus will not only raise her brother but, more significantly, in her acceptance of who Christ is; she too will be changed.
Jesus’ promise isn’t only about what happens when we die. It’s about the new creation we become in accepting Jesus Christ as our risen Lord. We are like the phoenix rising from the ashes. Our faith in Christ transforms us, leaving our former sinful selves behind and taking on a new form of godliness and righteousness. We are not who we once were.
Christ continues to ask that same question to all who will listen. Sadly, unlike Martha, we often find reasons to doubt or procrastinate. We know the decision we should make. We understand what is at stake, but we're unwilling to commit. But in not making a decision, we’ve made a decision. Unless we accept Him, we continue to live in sin, rejecting His promise.
Heavenly Father of grace and glory, we thank you for sending your Son Jesus to conquer death and give us the hope of new life. Thank you for the transformation of our lives. Grant us boldness in sharing the good news to those who have yet to hear that they may answer your question with the faith of Martha. We pray in the name of our resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
I am taking a brief hiatus beginning Monday, April 17. The daily devotion will resume when I return on Tuesday, April 25.