It’s a question for the ages. One of those questions that’s going to get asked multiple times throughout our lives. The question that, in a sense, overrules all other questions.
Her brother was dead, she was distraught, and for days Jesus had been distant. Now He was there, but now the request was different. No longer was it sufficient for her and her sister to ask the Lord to come quickly because their brother was ill (Jn. 11:3), now the ask had to be, Call on God, Lord, for our brother is dead (Jn. 11:21). But, as Jesus so often is wont to do, before acting He determined to use this terrible moment as a teachable moment. And it centered ultimately on a question.
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.” 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?”
(John 11:23-26 ESV)
Do you believe this?
Isn’t that the question we need to come back to again and again in order to keep on keepin’ on in this weird world? Isn’t that the reset we need to repeat when things get really hard and don’t make sense? Isn’t it the question that punctuates every truth we’re presented, or re-presented, about the awesome nature of God, or the grand scope of the gospel, or the benefits of weakness, or the precious promise of a sin-free, sorrow-free day to come? I’m thinkin’!
Last night, at our class on Union with Christ, we considered the implications of the ascension (Acts 1:1-11). That Jesus right now is bodily somewhere doing something. That “somewhere” is heaven at the right hand of God. That “something” is manifold: He is Sitting (Col. 3:1; Jn. 19:30; Heb. 10:10); He is Reigning (Acts 2:33, 36; 1Pet. 3:22; Rev. 1:5); He is Mediating (Heb. 6:19-20); He is Relating (Heb. 2:17-18, 4:14-16); He is Advocating (Heb. 7:23-25; Rom. 8:26). And yet, while bodily in heaven, He is equally present with us on earth (Matt.28:20b). Because we are “in Him”, while He is living in heavenly realms He is also “in us”, living in and through us (Gal. 2:20). As we talked through the mind-stretching realities and implications of our union with the ascended Christ, bottom line is we were left to answer but one question: Do you believe this?
Run the list of what you know about the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Ponder again the promises of God you’ve highlighted in the word of God. Remind yourself of what’s above even as you deal with what’s below. No matter how long, or how short your list is, at the end of it, it still comes down to one simple, four-word question. Do you believe this?
It’s a question for the ages. A question we can anticipate being confronted with as we enter this day.
Martha models for us the right answer.
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I believe . . . ” (John 11:27a)
By His grace. For His glory.