Advent: December 5

John 11:21-27

‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother [Lazarus] would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’

Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’

This is Martha – the one who was more concerned with preparing food for Jesus and his crowd than spending time with him, as her sister Mary did. If you’re a Martha, then be blessed that she could talk this deeply with Jesus (but you do need to give him the time, and stop fretting!).

Lazarus will be revived, says Jesus. Yes, says Martha, he’ll rise again come the last day. Although Martha had not yet placed faith in Jesus’ ability to bring Lazarus back to life in the here and now, she had faith for resurrection to everlasting life after death.

Jesus then explains that he, Jesus, the man standing before her, is the resurrection. In other words, resurrection is to be found in Jesus, and Jesus alone. While some may argue that all faiths lead eventually to God, they may by-pass Jesus en route. Eternal life comes by Jesus alone. Without disrespect for those who search for truth in other faiths, I have to say that this claim of Jesus is exclusive to him but offered to all.

There may be some confusion in what Jesus says next. Jesus is saying that whoever believes in him will live, though their mortal self dies, and they will live forever. Eternity is too much for a human body, so after the death of this mortal body there will be a new body fit for eternity.

Martha is the first recorded woman in the Gospels to make a clear confession to Jesus as to his status. Come on, you Marthas!

Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, who came into the world?

What are the implications for your response to the question above?

And if worms should destroy your body…?

Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Messiah, and the risen and ascended Lord. My future is secure in you, because you have already redeemed me, and you wait for me to join you in glory. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

My redeemer lives