Who asked, “Do you believe this?” Jesus, of course. And to whom did he address this question? He addressed the question to Martha who came to him at Bethany 4 days after her brother Lazarus had died. And what was she challenged to believe? Jesus had said to her, “Your brother shall rise again? [John 11 v.23] And what did she answer? “”I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” And how did Jesus respond? “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?” [v,25,26]
Do we believe this? What does Jesus mean, “shall never die”? Surely he means, die eternally! It is significant that Jesus earlier told his disciples, ” “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” [v.11] and they did not understand that he had actually died!
Paul writes of believers who die as having “fallen asleep” [1 Thess 4 v.14] and says those “who are alive (at his coming) will be caught up … in the clouds to meet the Lord … and so we will always be with the Lord.” [v.17] And where will the Lord be? A song will be sung to Jesus, we read this in Revelations, “by your blood you ransomed people for God … and you made them a kingdom of priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” [5 v9,10]
We might feel inclined to ask, as Nicodemus did, “How can these things be?” [John 3 v.9] and struggle to grasp the reality of the Lord’s answer. Lazarus was dead for 4 days and then brought back to life – but he would ultimately have died again, like all who heard Jesus then. All their bodies have long since moulded into dust. Is the coming resurrection – of how many – totally beyond our comprehension?”
Remember, how Peter told his readers, “do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” [2 Peter 3 v.8] Think of how God must have reached back through time to bring Moses and Elijah to the mount of transfiguration. The coming day of resurrection will be one of the greatest miracles ever performed by the Creator of all things.
Remember what Mary was told! “For nothing will be impossible with God.” [Luke 1 v.37] Mary believed – and so must we! And how firm and strong will our belief need to be! We must answer with the strongest possible degree of faith “Do you believe this?” as this present world starts to really fall apart.
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