“If you’re going to have doubt, don’t pray for me.”

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These were the words I heard from someone who was facing a serious illness.  He wanted prayer, but he had a very specific requirement: “If you’re going to have doubt, don’t pray for me.” 

If his complete healing wasn’t the faith I possessed on his behalf, I was told to not even bother.  It was bold.  It was faith-filled.  It stretched my faith.

There are moments like that.

Jesus had received the news that Lazarus was sick and eventually, Lazarus died (John 11:1-16).  By the time Jesus (and the disciples) arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days.  One of Lazarus’ sisters, Martha, had the faith to believe Jesus could have healed Lazarus, but now…her brother was dead.

We continue the story in John 11:22-27:

[Martha said,] “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

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?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

John 11:22-27
New International Version

Martha’s statement in verse 22 isn’t stating she thinks Jesus will raise Him from the dead.  It’s closer to the idea of even though you’ve let me down, I still believe in You.  God will still grant you whatever you ask.”  These are words of grief AND faith.  It doesn’t exclude the possibility of Lazarus being raised, but verse 39 (what we’ll study in two weeks) certainly denies a practical belief that Jesus could raise Lazarus.

Nevertheless, her pain was temporary and her heart had an eternal perspective.  As Jesus assures her in verse 23 “Your brother will rise again.” One commentator called Jesus’ response a “masterpiece of planned ambiguity” because it could be taken as foreshadowing to what was going to happen but also the eschatological reality (that is, “the last days” reality) that Lazarus would be resurrected with all the redeemed to eternal life. 

She responds with more “eternal perspective” assuming Jesus means the latter, in verse 24, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus makes the boldest statement of His deity to this woman in verses 25-27 and this dear sister makes the boldest declaration to this point—this is great stuff!

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

John 11:27
New International Version

This is the fifth of the seven “I Am” statements in John’s Gospel.  Claiming equality with the Father, Jesus declares He “is the resurrection and the life.”  Under the authority given to Him by the Father, it would be Jesus granting eternal life to all who will believe in Him.

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Instead of an abstract concept like “resurrection at the last day,” Jesus personalizes it for her (and those Apostles, and us) by pinning life on Him alone.  Jesus is the bread of life from heaven Who not only will raise all on the last day, but is HIMSELF the resurrection and the life—neither one of these concepts exists outside of Jesus the Son of God!  Hallelujah!

Then Jesus extends the invitation, “Do you believe this?”

Jesus is asking: can you move beyond the concept of just hoping you will see your loved one again to a personal, real faith in the Messiah, the second person of the trinity, the Son of God, Jesus Christ?

What was her answer in verse 27, again?  “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

So, my dear reader, let’s turn that question to you: do you believe Jesus is truly the Son of God, your Savior?

Is your belief so real that when you pray, you don’t harbor doubt?
Is your belief so real, you can feel His presence?
Have you come to a point when your faith got real?
Do you believe Him?