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March 21, 2018, 8:05 AM

Do You Believe This?

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever live and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’ (John 11:25-26)

It was a sad and somber day in Bethany as Jesus stood in the midst of the brokenhearted family and friends at the grave of Lazarus. From His lips came an astonishing claim: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26a). Then Jesus looked into their faces – just as He looks into our hearts – and asked life’s bottom-line question: “Do you believe this?” (v. 26b). The resurrection is what sets our Lord apart from a thousand other gurus and self-proclaimed prophets who have come along through the centuries. The question, “Do you believe this?” is what drives any responsible hearer to either accept or reject the Christian faith.

Since we obviously have no audio recordings or videos of our Lord’s words, it causes one to wonder what words Jesus emphasized in His question. Perhaps Jesus emphasized the you in order to drive home the fact that one’s salvation is a very personal and individual matter: “Do you believe this?” When it comes to saving faith in the finished work of Christ, what matters is not what my mother or father, husband or wife, or anyone else believes. It is a personal matter. I have known some who pinned all their hopes of eternal life on someone else’s faith as though they might eventually benefit by some sort of spiritual osmosis. Yet, the real question, however, is “Do you believe this?”

It could be that He emphasized the word believe and asked it thus: “Do you believe this?” He was not asking his hearers if they were giving intellectual assent to his claims. He wanted to know if they would actually put their total trust and faith in His words. It is one thing to know the gospel story intellectually. It is one thing to attempt to conform ourselves to the resurrection by trying to take up a new set of moral standards externally. It is even one thing to reason and argue in the defense of the gospel. But the real issue for Jesus was – and is – one of faith: “Do you believe this?”

Or, it may well be that Jesus placed the emphasis on the last word in the question: “Do you believe this?” Do we believe what? Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die! Do you believe this?” Do you believe this – Jesus’ claim to deity? Using the words “I am” captured the attention of those around Him. When Moses asked the voice from the burning bush to reveal His name, God simply instructed Moses to tell the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you” (Ex. 3:13-14). When Jesus said, “I am,” all those listening recognized it to be an affirmation of His deity. The most fundamental belief of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth is God Himself. “Do you believe this?” There are lots of questions in life. But there is only one big question in death: “Do you believe this?” You can settle the answer now, once and for all, by joining Martha in her response: “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God” (John 11:27).

Let us join in prayer: Almighty God, thank you for the hope of eternal life I have in Jesus. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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