Much is said in Scripture concerning the importance of faith, and truly believing in the power of God. This is brought to our minds most vividly in John 11 as Jesus enters the village of Bethany. While there Jesus receives word that Lazarus is sick, and proclaims this sickness is not unto death, but is for the glory of God. Jesus then decides to spend two more days in Bethany before telling His disciples it is time to return to Judea.
Jesus would speak of Lazarus falling asleep which means death, but He was going to awaken Him from this sleep. When Jesus arrives back in Judea, Lazarus has been in the tomb four days, and many Jews from Jerusalem had gathered to comfort Mary and Martha. Martha tells Jesus if He had been there Lazarus would still be alive, and Jesus comforts her with the words Lazarus would rise again.
Jesus tells Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (Jn. 11:25,26) Martha believes Jesus to be the Son of God and realizes the power and authority of Jesus. Many of the Jews held through their traditions that if a person died the spirit would remain at least in close proximity to the deceased if not actually still within for three days. Since Lazarus had been dead four days there would be no possibility of His being revived.
Mary also laments the absence of Jesus, for like Martha, she tells Jesus if He had been there Lazarus would not have died, and many others of the Jews were saying the same thing. Yet Jesus went to where Lazarus had been placed in a tomb, and raised him from the dead. Thus God was glorified, and Jesus gave thanks to the Father so that those around Him would believe God had indeed sent Him. Many did believe in Him following this miracle, which shows the authority of Jesus even over death.
As for us today, do we really believe? When the loss of a loved one causes grief to enter our lives do we still believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life? Do we still believe that the deceased will live again through the glory of the Father? Martha and Mary were looking to the presence of Jesus to prevent the death of their brother, but Jesus made it clear that even though He was absent at the time of Lazarus' passing He still had the power over death. We must still believe that today.
While it is painful to experience the loss of loved one, we must not forget a more glorious life awaits us when time on this earth has come to a close. Jesus was wanting those around Him to understand there is something more wonderful to come, and that should be our focus. We cannot allow grief to cloud our belief that God is still in control and He still cares for us. More importantly, we are not alone, God is still there to provide comfort as Jesus did to Martha and Mary. I look forward to that great resurrection day to be realized in Christ. May we never forget what Jesus has given to us as we boldly proclaim, "Yes Lord, I believe." Rodger