Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40
According to a 2011 Gallup Poll, more than 90% of Americans say they believe in God, (a decline from the 50’s and 60’s when 98% responded that they believed.) I am not surprised that when asked, most people will reply that they do believe in a God or a higher power, but if you asked the question in a different manner, such as, “Do you truly BELIEVE God, His Word, and His promises?”, I have no doubt the number would be significantly lower.
While it seems easy for most to admit that there must be some higher power who created us and the world, it seems more difficult for people to truly believe that a loving, caring God is alive, active, and trustworthy. So many who don’t believe seem to have very little knowledge of Scripture and its truths. Belief requires faith and as Christians, we should have much.
The second story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, known to be good friends to Jesus, found in the gospel of John speaks to this belief. Lazarus had become gravely ill, so Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus, asking Him to come, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
Jesus received the message, but put off coming for 2 days, for He knew He would show God’s glory by performing a great miracle by doing so. In the meantime, Lazarus died.
When Jesus finally arrived after traveling a distance, Lazarus had already been buried in the tomb for 4 days. As Jesus approached, Martha ran to meet Him on the road. Martha said to Him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now, I know that God will do whatever you ask.”
Jesus replied, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Martha replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
Martha had a deep understanding and knowledge of who Jesus was. Her belief and faith in Him was strong. After speaking with Him, she went inside to get Mary and told her Jesus was asking for her. Mary ran to Jesus, weeping with heartwrenching grief. Jesus was deeply moved by the sight of her pain, and He wept.
Jesus then went to the tomb and had the stone removed. Martha questioned Jesus and told him that it had been 4 days and her brother was surely dead. Then Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
He prayed and called to Lazarus. Lazarus then rose up and appeared to Jesus and the others with Him, alive and well. And then Jesus prayed to His Father and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew 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.”
And John records that after this, many Jews began to believe in Jesus after witnessing this amazing event. “I do this so others might believe.” Jesus knew that those people, like us, had such doubting hearts.
We have never seen Jesus resurrect someone from the dead, but we see amazing miracles all around us each and every day, and yet many refuse to believe in His name. How many times do we miss out on God’s glory because we fail to believe?
Martha believed that Jesus was the Son of God and her faith was strong and evident. Jesus knew she believed in Him, and through the raising of Lazarus, He showed the disciples and the world that they could believe in Him too. And more importantly, he showed the world and us that He has power over death.
We too can believe in His resurrection of the dead, for this is the promise God has made to us for all eternity. For one day, we too will be resurrected to new life with Him. We can believe in His power, His glory, His love, and His promises to us. And if we do, we too will see the glory of God!
Dear God, so many don’t know you or believe in you. Help us that we might be better servants and make your glory known to others. What gifts they miss out on in life because they don’t know the power that can be found in your presence, love, and grace. May we always give you the honor and praise you deserve. Amen