Sermons

Summary: Quite often we want God to do new things in our lives. However, many a times God wants to raise the dead, to bring to life what is dead in our lives, and not just give us brand new things. He wants to renew, give life to the dead things in our lives so that they will bring life to the whole person.

I want to begin by pointing out a correction that Jesus made to Martha's view on resurrection, a mistake that many people make even today.

In John 11:40 we read, "Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” That was a kind rebuke. Jesus was rebuking Martha for her incorrect view of His power to raise the dead.

But first, before we look at the the correction, let me say that the "glory of God" that is referred here is the resurrection miracle, the raising of their beloved Lazarus. So He tells them that if they believed, they will see the glory of God. It was true then and it is still true now - if you believe you'll see the glory of God. Faith makes you see the glory of God.

But let's go back to the correction. Jesus told her, "Did I not tell you if you believe you'll see the glory of God?' A question arises: When did Jesus tell her that? It happened when Jesus got to the home of Mary and Martha, when they saw him, both, but especially Martha, said (In a way, blaming him for the delay), "Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died..." Jesus told her, "Your brother will live again." Then she said, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”(V.24).

Martha had her eschatological facts right, she knew that he will rise again in the resurrection. However, her problem was not that, her problem was the NOW, the present, her felt need. She kind of felt like Lazarus should be alive, that he shouldn't have died.

It's good to have hope for the future, but many a times what we need now is so crucial that no hope for the future can satisfy. I like the chorus to the song, "Sing the Wondrous Love of Jesus" that says,

"When we all get to heaven

What a day of rejoicing that will be

When we all see Jesus

We'll sing and shout the victory."

It's good, It's soothing to the soul. It gives us hope. However, it doesn't necessarily satisfy the thirsty and hungry soul. There are many times that I want to see Jesus now, I want Him to appear and speak to my heart, I want him to come now, and I would say a big Amen to apostle John's deep prayer, "Come, Lord Jesus, Come." (Rev. 22:10). Hope for the future is encouraging, yes, but still doesn't quench the thirst in my heart for His presence. My heart still cries like Moses, "If your presence doesn't go with us, then don't bring us out of this place." (Ex. 33:15). No amount of future hope can satisfy me. I need Him to shine His face to me Now.

Martha was mistaken though and Jesus went ahead and corrected her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

"Do you believe this?" Believe what? That Jesus is the resurrection and the life, Now. He said, "I Am the resurrection and the life." Not He will be the resurrection, but He is Now the resurrection. When Jesus asked Martha, "Do you believe this?," He was asking her whether, like Abraham, she believed that God raises the dead. And although she said Yes, she really didn't believe because when Jesus commanded that they remove the stone, she responded, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” And that's when Jesus mildly rebuked her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

God raises the dead "NOW." He's a God of resurrection. Romans 4:17 says that Abraham believed in a God who raises the dead. The tense is present continuous, not just future only. He believes in a God who raises the dead NOW. The context of his faith is in regard to his "dead" body and Sarah's barrenness. He believed God is able to give life to his body, regarding the promise of a son even in his old age. He kept on believing that over 20 year period until the miracle happened.

When it says that Abe believed in a God who raises from the dead, it's not talking about future end-times resurrection (though true) but present continuous. It says in Ezekiel 37:13, "Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves." What graves? Graves of sin, graves of hopelessness, graves of stolen destinies, graves of sicknesses, graves of despair, etc.

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