17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was a little less than two miles from Jerusalem. 19 Many Jews had come to comfort Martha and Mary after their brother’s death. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, while Mary remained in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever you ask God, God will give you.”
23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Grief always seems to be accompanied by uncertainty. The death of a loved one and the grief we experience can leave us feeling lost and the future uncertain. Many times it can leave us questioning our faith. Martha had been living under the protection of her brother Lazarus and now he was dead. She and her sister Mary had sent for Jesus to help and he did not come immediately as they expected. Now Lazarus was dead and they were grieving, feeling alone and unprotected.
Martha goes out of the house to meet Jesus. She needs to confront him head on for not coming in time to save her brother. It’s as if she is saying, “I called to you to come and heal him and you failed me. I believed in you and you let me down.” Jesus assures Martha that her brother will “rise again.” Martha responds that she knows “he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Martha’s understanding is for a *future resurrection of her brother.” Jesus wants to expand the narrow boundaries of her faith. He tells her, “I am the resurrection and the life,” and asks, “Do you believe this?”
Resurrection and life in Christ is not a future event. Believing in Jesus means we are alive in Christ now and even if our bodies die, we are still alive in Christ’s resurrection. God’s saving love for us is happening now and is always with us, whether we are living or have died in Christ.
Christ has victory over the grave! Do you believe this?
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Jesus has called us “children of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36). We are loved, forgiven and redeemed. Jesus says God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive (Luke 20:38). Do you believe this? What joyous news Jesus brings to Martha and to us! God loves us so much that even in the midst of all life’s uncertainties and what seems to us finality, life in Christ never ends!
One of my favorite Easter songs is a Charles Wesley hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” Verse 3 says:
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave?