Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NIV
Some questions are easy. What is your name? What is your favorite color? They require no thought; the answers just roll off your tongue. Others may be embarrassing or invasive. How fast do you think you were going? How did you get that bruise on your arm? Some are more thought-provoking. These can't be answered quickly and may require an honest inventory of ourselves.
Jesus frequently made profound statements followed up with a question. The kind of that necessitated self-examination and soul-searching. In today's verse, by the time Jesus arrived at the home of Martha and Mary, his friend Lazarus had been dead four days. In this dialogue with Martha, he engages her in this conversation about the resurrection. Looking ahead to his death and resurrection but also Lazarus. Was this man standing in front of her the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah? Could he conquer death? Could he raise her brother from the grave? Jesus asks simply, "Do you believe this?" It is one of those questions for which many of us struggle. Not because we don't want to believe, but because the human part of ourselves is frequently constructing obstacles to our belief. Because it is not in the realm of human possibility, we place limitations on God. God bless her, Martha didn't miss a beat, her immediate response (v. 27), “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
There's a spiritual practice called breath prayer I'd like us to try. Find a quiet place and seat yourself in a comfortable position. Just relax, inhale deeply and exhale slowly. As you are breathing, pray they question silently, "Do I believe this?" Repeat this ten times. Slowly return to the present. You may want to record any thoughts or additional questions that came to mind and revisit them during the day. The breath prayer is a quick way to pause throughout the day and recenter ourselves in Christ. You may change the phrase or question. For example, during Advent, you may want to use “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”
Gracious and loving Father, we give you thanks for your Son, Jesus the Messiah. We are thankful for the selfless gift of his life and resurrection. In conquering death, Jesus offered the hope of eternal life. We freely confess that we believe, but sometimes our belief weakens and falters. We place human parameters around you, at the same time realizing you can't be put in a box. God, we believe, please help our unbelief. Help us to respond without hesitation and with certainty like Martha. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.