Believe! To believe means to accept something as true. What you believe deeply impacts your thoughts, feelings, actions, and ultimately the course of your entire life. “What do you believe?” may be the single most important question you’ll ever face.
In today’s reading of John 11, we see the word believe used eight times. Here we find two of Jesus’ dear friends, Mary and Martha, stunned by the death of their beloved brother Lazarus. Can you imagine their shock, grief and confusion? Couldn’t Jesus could have responded sooner? They were certain he could have saved Lazarus if he’d simply gotten there earlier–after all, they had seen him heal blind eyes. The disciples were perplexed about their teacher’s seeming lack of a game plan. Especially when Jesus told them, “Lazarus is dead and I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe…” (John 11:14).
When Jesus finally arrives on the scene, four days late, Martha cries, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died…” Jesus tells her that her brother will rise again, to which Martha replies “I know he will rise again at the resurrection.” You can almost imagine her blurting out, “But what about now…I am hurting now!”
Jesus answered, “I am the resurrection. 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 11:25-27).
Jesus’ response, though theologically correct, seems to lack emotion. But keep reading and see what happens next. When Jesus saw Mary and her friends grieving, he was “deeply move in spirit and troubled. The word for troubled is tarasso, “to be stirred up, agitated.” Tarasso implies great emotion and is the same word used to describe Jesus as he contemplated the cross (John 12:27).
Jesus was deeply troubled over the death of his friend. He wept. Yet he knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He prays and thanks God, “I know that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” Then in a loud voice that must have shaken all of creation He shouts, “Lazarus, come out!” We’re told that many of those who watched the miracle believed in Jesus.
Friend, are you facing a huge disappointment in your life? You know Jesus could fix your situation, so why hasn’t He shown up yet? Perhaps you feel like your faith has been shaken to its core. Don’t lose sight of those first words Jesus spoke when He learned of Lazarus’ sickness (and my watchword today): “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory, so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (John 11:4).
Jesus knew the end of the story. He knows the end of yours. Would you entrust that heartbreaking situation to Him, believing that your disappointment may be the raw material for a fresh miracle? Dare to pray that those who see His work in your life may truly believe He is the Son of God.