John 11:25-27 (NIV)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Do you believe? It really all comes down to whether or not one truly believes that Jesus is the Son of God. I can say that I do, but does my life line up with my words. Many call on the Name of the Lord to be saved, yet have no idea what a gift that is received in that moment. Their name is written on a roster somewhere and the pastoral staff pats each other on the back for record numbers that day. But beyond that moment is there any significant impact on the person’s life? There should be. Lazarus had died. Martha, as usual, was running things. Preparing for meals and accommodations for those who had come and were on their way to mourn the death of her dear brother. Jesus tells her in the midst of her hurry, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and who ever lives believing in me will never die. Do you believe?” She quickly goes on to say, “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of the God, who is to come into the world.” Canned answer for sure. Her belief was for after she died, not the present time. Presently, she had throngs of people to take care of, a brother to mourn, and things to do. How do I know? After she said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside to tell her Jesus was here and she rushed out to meet Him. I think maybe just maybe Martha did this to get on with what she needed to do and knew that her sister would come to be with the Lord.
We all know the story that Jesus would raise Lazarus from the dead. Too many times we miss the supernatural because we live in the natural. We determine our steps based on natural conditions rather than supernatural possibilities. Like Martha, we act and react to the details of life rather than considering that the Lord may be doing something far greater than we can see with our eyes. Martha believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but had not taken the time to sit and soak in what He came to do. He told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.” She decided that was for Eternity and not today. I wonder, how many times we do that. When Jesus wants to do something in our life, but we push off as in forever. We do not see the supernatural in the natural so we go about our business. Jesus, I want to see all the things that you are doing in my life today. I want to believe not only in life after death, but the new life that you have granted me today just because I do believe.
John 9:30-34 (NIV)
The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
There was a man blind from birth who was healed by Jesus in John 9. Word quickly spread along with all the rumors that arise from communication. Some said that the man they saw was not the man who was blind. When his friends and neighbors finally believed that he was one in the same, they asked him what happened. “How then were your eyes opened?” He told them all exactly what happened in detail. So they brought the man to the Pharisees to share his story. Church people would obviously be excited about the miracle and believe. Well, no that was not the case either. They interrogated the man. His family were brought before them. Now in the beginning of John 9 Jesus tells the disciples that sin was not the cause of the blindness, but that “the works of God might in displayed in him.” This is important. Interrogation turned to insults as the man and his family continued to tell them the same story over and over. Finally, the man makes the declaration in verses 30-33. The Pharisees throw him out.
John 9:35-38 (NIV)
Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
The Pharisees were so intent on disproving that Jesus was the Messiah that they completely overlooked the miracle accomplished that day. Rather than believe or even suspect that Jesus was the Messiah, they tried to discredit the myth. When they could not, they cast the man from the synagogue. This is not uncommon even today. There are not miracles, signs and wonders in most churches. People hear of them but they do not believe because they have not experienced such things. The blind man’s story could have ended when he could see with his natural eyes. It would make a great feel good story but that was not the reason the Lord healed the man. He healed him so that “the works of God might in displayed in him.” The availability of God for us is never in question. He supplies our every need. He is our strength when we are weak. He has many precious promises for us that we overlook by choosing to believe more in this world than His Kingdom. However, that day another would be added to the fold. Jesus came to the man who had been thrown out and completely the good work that He began by giving him back natural sight. In that moment, the Light of God’s Love illuminated in his heart and he could now see it with spiritual eyes. The man believed.
Under the scrutiny of the Pharisees, I am sure that the man and his family may have questioned if the healing was actually a curse. Thrust from the obscurity of the lower class, and delivered into the opulence of the religious rite of that day, I hardly think that expected such a response. Surely one would embrace the Goodness of God given in the healing of their son. But that is not what the Pharisees were after, they wanted to discredit and destroy the one who challenged their authority and power in this life by offering a way to come the Father other than through them. Perhaps the modern church may be just a little bit like that, if people began reaching out to the lost creating revival in their family and community, if people were healed, saved and delivered to the fullest, so that they could in fact preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth, what would be the result? Mega ministries would die. Six-figure salaries would vanish. Private jets would be sold. The church would be empowered by the Spirit. To do so means that rather than believing in the same things, we all must believe in the One True God and living what we believe despite any condemnation.
The man and his family expected healing to bring closure to the awful ordeal of their life. It was supposed to be a good thing and it was. Any good thing in our life that does not produce more godly awareness has not reached its potential. In those moments of telling and retelling his story to the Pharisees forced the man to review the details over and over. The men of the robe required the man to compare the healing that was experienced with the details of the Law. What the man found was not what they expected? He discovered that Jesus was the Messiah…and believed. Without the careful inspection and subsequent interrogation, he probably would have wandered off seeing in the natural but still blind spiritually? It would have made his life a little better now, but he would have been lost forever.
John 6:35-36 (NIV)
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
Jesus said that He is the Bread of Life. Those who hunger and thirst have the ability to be satisfied now not waiting for the day of His Return. He has given us His Word to sustain us and our soul is watered by His Spirit which takes all those tiny seeds planted in a fertile heart making them grow. It is this very process by which we believe. We must permeate our mind with God’s Word to know Who He is and what He came to do and when He will do it. Yes, it will be according to His Word, Will and Way including His Timing but it is for our life now…we don’t have to wait for forever…just believe today.
John 6:63-64 (NIV)
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.
We have been given the Word of God. The Pharisees had it, too. But we are offered something they did not have which is the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that gives life. The Spirit makes the church uncomfortable because it opens a realm of uncertainty simply because we cannot see it with our eyes but experience Him in our hearts. I was raised in a church that believed that the Spirit was a silent partner. Faith could work without His Assistance. Faith in God is dependent on acceptance of Father, Son and Spirit. It didn’t change just because we got uncomfortable. When we decide that we want to believe it will requiring looking every facet of our life through God’s Word and working it out with the help of His Spirit.
Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Martha believed that Jesus was the Messiah. She kept His Power locked in the afterlife. He would reign forever. But what if we allowed Jesus to reign in our today? What if we believed that Jesus wants to invest in our life now for forever? What if we allowed ourselves to believe and develop confident hope that we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living? This will not occur without a healing of our spiritual blindness. It is keeping you and I from the Glory of God for our life today. To be strong and take heart means waiting for the Lord to answer and believing Him wholeheartedly. We listen. But most of the time, we do not believe. Let’s face it. Something bad happens and we immediately consult the world and our church.
When our son was issued a death sentence, it contradicted the Word of God hidden in my heart which forced me to seek an answer. The night of his diagnosis, I didn’t go seek out an oncologist, hospital administrator, pastor, Sunday school teacher, friends, co-workers, family even my husband, no I went straight to my Source. In a filthy bathroom I got on my knees, I demanded accountability from God according to His Word and all that I knew about His Will for our life. This did not equate to the faith and confident hope that He had been developing in me since I was saved. It was not the truth. I came boldly before the Throne and laid out my case. The Lord only asked if I trusted Him to which I said, “Yes!” Our son is healed and completely delivered of cancer. It was not an easy battle but now on the other side, there is no one who can change my mind about the God I serve. He is true to His Word. We just have to believe.
Believing is definitely the hardest part because faith and hope are not based on what we see but completely on the unseen God who loves us with His Whole Heart. I want to believe. Why don’t I come to God’s Throne about every detail of life that does not add up to the Word or His Will for my life? Why am I not dissatisfied with less than God’s Best enough to wait on it? I want to see with my Spirit the world in which I live and take full advantage of the blessings and promises hidden there for me. I want the life of power and authority given to me by Christ be released to change the world around me for His Kingdom. I want to see the sick made well, the blind to see, and those in bondage set free. I cannot do that naturally. Lord, open the eyes of my heart today so that I can see more of this life through Your Eyes that I may do Your Will.
Isaiah 42:6-7 (NIV)
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”