What we do and how we act is often determined by what we believe. If a man is told that great wealth lies hidden beneath his front porch and he believes it, he will tear up his porch looking for it. However, if he is unwilling to damage his porch to reach the treasure under it, it’s because he really doesn’t believe the treasure is there. What we truly believe, and disbelieve, will usually determine our decisions and courses of action. Consider the following account in the eleventh chapter of the Gospel according to John.
By the time the messengers from Mary and Martha reached Jesus on the east side of the Jordan River, and Jesus made His way to their home in Bethany, Lazarus was dead. His decaying body had been anointed, wrapped, and sealed in a tomb behind a heavy stone for four days. To Mary, Martha and the many mourners there to offer comfort, Jesus had arrived too late.
As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was approaching, she ran from the house to meet Him. “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” She cried as they met. Jesus responded by telling her, “Your brother will rise again.” With eyes red and swollen from days of mourning and tears on her checks, she looked up at Jesus and sobbed, “I know he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Then gazing down into Martha’s tear stained face, Jesus spoke the most astounding words ever uttered in all human history. “Martha, I am the resurrection.”
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” A Buddhist priest once scoffed at these words of Jesus by saying, “Anyone could say that.” The Christian missionary whom he was addressing replied, “Yes, anyone could say it, but could they get anyone to believe it.” Jesus went to the tomb, ordered the stone removed, and shouted, “Lazarus, come forth!” Then, the Scripture tells us, “He that was dead came forth.” Jesus said it, then He proved it, and everyone there believed it.
Very soon, Jesus would also be placed in a tomb. He would be arrested, falsely accused, spit on, humiliated, severely beaten, and nailed to a rough wooden cross to die as God’s sacrificial lamb. He suffered an agonizing death to atone for the sins of man, and offer eternal salvation to someone as unworthy as me….and you. Then the greatest of all events occurred. Early the following Sunday morning, a day we call Easter, He arose from the dead leaving the tomb empty. Thank you Lord for the empty tomb. He’s alive!
Speaking to Martha, Jesus said, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Then He asked a question. A question that comes storming through the centuries. A question that must be answered by every man and woman who has ever lived or will live. A question that must be answered by you and me. “Do you believe this?” John 11:26