To The Intent Ye May Believe Jn 11:15 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When we go through difficult situations in our lives, we must go through them believing what Jesus Christ said. However, some circumstances can be very difficult. And we find there are things that inhibit our belief. Such is the case with Martha and the disciples concerning the resurrection of Lazarus. What inhibited their belief is what inhibits our belief.
We don’t hear what Jesus said – John 11:4 – Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death.” He said it was for the glory of God and that the Son would be glorified thereby. They didn’t believe that, once Lazarus died. And neither did Martha when the messenger came back with the news that Lazarus’ sickness was not unto death. In John 11:11, Jesus told the disciples that he would awake him out of sleep. In both places, he assured the folks that Lazarus was going to live. But they didn’t “hear” him.
We see a contrary circumstance – John 11:14 – Jesus said, “Lazarus is dead.” Lazarus‘s death was contrary to what Jesus had said in Jn 11:4. Often, Jesus gives us his words to believe, but what happens in the meantime makes it look like he’s not going to do what he said. Before Peter walked on the water, the Lord said to him, “Come.” That’s all Peter needed to hear. However, when Peter saw the stormy water, his view of the circumstance overwhelmed his faith in what Jesus said. And so he fell in. When Jesus told his disciples to get in a boat to go to the other side, they were convinced they would never make it when the storm they encountered nearly capsized their boat. Nevertheless, Jesus had said they would go to “the other side,” [Lk 8:22]. The contrary storm inhibited their ability to believe they would make it to the other side alive.
We have a singular mindset – In John 11:21 – Martha said, “if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” In her mind, there was only one thing that Jesus could have done with her brother; he had to heal him before he died. Oftentimes, when we pray to the Lord, we already have in mind exactly what we expect the Lord to do for us. And if he doesn’t do that one thing, our faith is inhibited. She never even considered that the Lord was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.
We know he can; we’re not sure that he will – John 11:22 – Martha said, “I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” She knew that Jesus could ask the Father to do anything for her brother. But her response to Jesus’ statement, “Thy brother shall rise again,” [Jn 11:23] indicates that she didn’t believe the Lord would raise him right then. She knew he could; she just wasn’t sure he would. When Jesus said, “Thy brother shall rise again,” he let her know that he was going to ask the Father to raise him from the dead. But, as in the first point, she didn’t “hear” what he said. Faith is believing that God “will” do what he said; not that he “can” do what he said.
We interpret what he says by what we already know – John 11:24 – Martha said, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus wasn’t talking about Lazarus’ future resurrection, he was talking about Lazarus rising from the dead that day. However, Martha didn’t believe him because she was bound by her knowledge of the future resurrection. We have to be careful as Bible believers with our understanding of the right divisions of the Bible. We can talk ourselves out of faith in something God said because it doesn’t fit in the dispensation in which we live. For instance, it’s a good thing the Syrophenician woman believed Jesus Christ would heal her daughter, despite the fact that he had only been sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [Matt 15:24]. It’s a good thing that John Paton put his faith in Ps 2:8 before he landed on New Hebrides. He claimed a verse of scripture applied to the Lord Jesus Christ during his millennial reign. By his faith, God gave him an island full of souls based on a verse most of us would never claim.
After explaining to Martha that he was the resurrection and the life, and “though he were dead, yet shall he live,” Jesus asked her, in John 11:26, “Believest thou this?” She replied, “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” He didn’t ask her whether she believed he was the Messiah. He asked her whether she believed that her dead brother would live again. How hard we make it on the Lord sometimes.
We live more by sight than by faith – John 11:39 – Jesus Christ was just about to raise Lazarus when Martha said, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” Martha couldn’t believe that Jesus was about to raise her brother from the dead because she “could see” his corruption. Her faith was inhibited by her “sight.” She had forgotten, from Ezekiel 37, about the bodies of those who had been dead for over 1000 years rising again during the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Four days was nothing compared these. Just because you can’t “see” how God can do a thing doesn’t mean he isn’t going to do it.
Conclusion: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is more for his glory than it is for our benefit. Consider the blind man in John 9. God was glorified and his work was manifested by this man’s blindness. The timing of this man’s healing allowed him not only to see but also to believe on Jesus. Therefore, Jesus said to Martha, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” Jesus Christ wants us to believe what he said for the glory of God and he doesn’t want our faith inhibited by these things that commonly inhibit our faith.