Jesus said to her [i.e. Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
– John 11:25-27
You probably recall Martha from the times she’s appeared in prior daily devotionals. This exchange between her and Jesus took place on the occasion when Jesus raised her brother Lazarus from the dead.
Put yourself in Martha’s shoes. Someone you know and like says to you “I am the resurrection and the life…” What’s your response?
I think it’s fair to say that she was staggered by what she heard. Nevertheless, she did as any God-fearing Jew of her time and place would do – she fell back on her faith in Israel’s Messiah. Pious Jews had been inculcated with a hope in Messiah – and first-century Jews actually anticipated Messiah in their own day because of the ministry of John the Baptist.
John the Baptist had preached:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
– Matthew 3:2
If the kingdom of heaven was “at hand,” faithful Jews knew that meant Messiah was at hand because Messiah would be a king.
Notice, however, that in confessing her faith in Jesus as the Messiah, Martha is actually side-stepping Jesus’ question. And you can appreciate why Martha did this – because Jesus’ question was stunning! It was stunning even for a believing Jew like Martha. She knew Messiah would be great…but the words coming out of Jesus’ mouth overwhelmed even Jewish imagination.
Jesus was proclaiming Himself so central to the resurrection of humanity from the dead that it could be personified in Him! “I am the resurrection…” As if that wasn’t enough, He goes on to say, “and the life.”
Jesus could have said, “I will cause the resurrection” or “I will bring about the life.” Instead, He puts the matter in such stupendous terms that you can almost hear Martha gulp before she falls back on her, “Well, you’re the Messiah, so whatever you say.”
What’s your answer to Jesus’ question?
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, thank You for being bold in the proclamation of Your identity while on earth so that we can have a clear choice to make…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)