From John 11-12
What does it mean to ‘believe in Jesus’?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Jesus was told Lazarus was dying, but he waited till he knew Lazarus would be dead when he arrived. It seems a strange thing to do. But Jesus had bigger plans that a simple healing. Still I don’t think it was an easy decision.
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. (Jn 11.17-19)
Already people had started arriving to comfort Mary and Martha, Lazurus’ sisters.
20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” (Jn 11.20-24)
It must have hurt to hear ‘if you had been here my brother would not have died’, but remember Jesus has a bigger plan in store. Martha refers to ‘the resurrection on the last day’. Not many know about this future event today. But then it was well known and longed for by the Jews (Acts 24.14-16; 26.6-8). But Jesus has a plan remember. He is going to raise Lazarus now.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who 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 coming into the world.” (Jn 11.25-27)
Jesus just dropped a bombshell. He makes some important statements and asked a question of Martha looking for feedback. The statements Jesus asks are;
- I am the resurrection and the life
- Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet he shall live (this is Lazarus)
- Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die (everyone alive)
The question Jesus asks following these statements is, ‘Do you believe this?’
Her answer is the goal of the gospel (Jn 20.31). To believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Is this all? I think this needs unpacking.
In the gospel according to John, Jesus often describes people who ‘believe in him’. What do you think this means?
What does believing in Jesus mean to you?
My answer is to try and imagine what it would be like if Jesus walked into a room where I was. I believe Jesus has incredible power. Only he can say, I Am the resurrection and the life’. Even though he would be humble and nonchalant, I’ve read what he can do. I believe he is loving and just – he is good. That means he cares for people and doesnt ignore evil. He might see someones needs and serve them on the spot. I believe Jesus will judge. That means he will hold me accountable on the things I have thought and done, good and bad. I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Lord of all. This means without thinking I might fall to my knees, like everyone else who may be in the room. This means if Jesus speaks I will listen. If someone else was speaking to me, I would ignore them and listen to Jesus. In fact I feel I should present myself to him and ask if He wanted me to do anything. If he commands I will obey. Or he might tell me to rest and do nothing. I believe he saved me by dying on the cross for me. It was a conscious decision on his part. He knew what he was doing. Hence on my part, thankfulness, devotion and obligation.
The apostles John and Paul are the ones who speak most about belief. They had both seen the risen LORD in person. They didnt believe in abstract doctrines, theories of atonement, or systematic theologies. They had met the person they believed in. He spoke to them. He walked into their room and they saw and heard him. When John the apostle quotes Jesus saying ‘believe in me’ and when Paul refers to ‘faith in Jesus Christ’ they are both defining belief as a personal relationship. You need to meet and know Jesus in order to believe in him. These are the kinds of things I think are associated with ‘Do you believe?’
Jesus is worthy of our belief.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.