Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
You must believe and receive. God draws you to Himself and you believe and receive Him. It is only by the power of the Spirit that you can repent, which literally means “change your mind.” It is impossible to change our mind about sin on our own ability! Sometimes, the more we want to change, the more difficult it is to actually change. Most New Year’s resolutions are broken on January 1. True repentance requires regeneration, becoming a new creation.
True salvation is so simple. It is all about believing and receiving.
In John 11, where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, he comments on resurrection. By believing and receiving, we are promised resurrection from the dead to eternal life. I first taught this passage when I was 25 and I thought I knew everything. Now, after losing my wife and holding on to the hope of eternal life, I see this passage in a whole new light.
A year and three months ago, my wife went into the hospital for some chest pain. After a CT and a biopsy, we discovered she had stage four lung cancer. This was a barrage of bad news until we discovered she had a particular gene marker which qualified her for targeted gene therapy. This gene therapy worked incredibly well until August, when we discovered it had begun to fail.
Throughout, I found myself wondering, “Why when God is using Lisa in such a powerful way, would she get sick.” This same question, “Why?” could have been asked of Lazarus. Truly, God’s ways are higher than our ways, but this passage in John aids in understanding “Why?”
Jesus receives word that Lazarus is dying and yet, he stays two more days. Lazarus dies. Jesus does not answer Mary and Martha’s prayers for healing. John 11:5 states that Jesus loves Mary and Martha, but He does not come immediately.
Sometimes, God does not give a positive answer to our most heartfelt cries and prayers. There were cries and prayers made for Lazarus, and Lisa. God could have healed them, but He does not. Martha asks this of Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Maybe you are in the midst of pain and a struggle. I completely and totally relate. Three weeks ago, I witnessed my wife take her last breath. To me, she died. For her, she took her first step into eternity. This is God’s perspective. Lisa never died.
We may ask, “Why?”
Jesus asks, “Do you believe?” Death is not the end. Jesus has triumphed over death. He asks of Martha, and of us, “Do you believe this?”
Yes! Through the pain, we trust and believe that death is not the end. Through believing and receiving Jesus, we live. Jesus knows eternity and He knew Lazarus would be raised from the dead, yet He still weeps. He hurts. Lazarus is the preview to the resurrection. Though we know eternity is real and our loved ones who believed and received are there, it still hurts. But we believe.
We are all terminally ill. Death in this mortal body knocks at the door.
Yet, we believe and receive eternal life.