Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, rushed to meet Him. By this time, her brother Lazarus has already been in the tomb for four days. She and her sister Mary have been surrounded by comforters, but, the One they desired most, didn’t come. They knew the stories of His mighty works, especially the healings. And yet, He had not come. “Lord, if You had been here.” These words stung with the accusation of neglect. Still, Jesus, in this encounter with Martha, listens as she talks through her pain, speaks into it and then commands her declaration of faith.
Martha’s belief centered on the physical presence of Jesus. “If you had been here.” Yet there is more. She knows that He has a special relationship with God. “Whatever You ask of God, God will give you.” There is still something that can be done for her, she just doesn’t know what exactly she needs. Jesus listens and then He speaks.
Jesus Speaks to her Pain
Jesus speaks to Martha’s grief. “Your brother will rise again.” Martha believes in the resurrection of the dead and she tells Jesus of her belief. It only goes, however, as far as her understanding; what she has come to accept in her limited experience with God. Jesus, having come from the Father knows the end from the beginning, and in this painful time, He knows He is the answer for Martha.
Jesus Commands Her Faith
Jesus tells 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 needs to declare her faith in this time of grief. Jesus is asking. What does she believe? Yes, she believes in the resurrection, she believes that Jesus has a special relationship with God. But, when it comes down to life and death does she see this teacher, this good friend, this worker of miracles as the resurrection, as life? The great miracle Jesus has in store for her hasn’t happened yet, but she declares her faith. “I believe You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Jesus, in this encounter with Martha, listens as she talks through her pain, speaks into it, and then commands her declaration of faith.