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Walking by Faith

26 May 2024

Sandstone steps

By Miranda Lester


The details surrounding the death and resurrection of Lazarus can vary.  We do know that Jesus was alerted that one of his ‘dear friend was very sick.’  Jesus delayed his coming to the family, staying where he was for the next two days.  The situation presented before him was dire; however, Jesus did not operate in man’s timing.  He followed the Spirit of God and operated in God’s timing.  Jesus was certain of the outcome.  The account ends with us knowing that grief was comforted, life was restored, and that more came to believe in Jesus.  Jesus’ apparent delay brought God greater glory. 


Lazarus’ resurrection would prove to others a great miracle and was different from the earlier times when Jesus raised individuals from the dead.  Previously, the time between death and resurrection had been close.  This time, Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.  Jesus knew the Jewish superstition of the fourth day.  The mourners would have believed a soul stayed near the grave for three days, hoping to return to the body.  At four days, all hope would have been lost for reviving a loved one back to life.


Scripture confirms that Lazarus’ family was close to Jesus, including his sister Martha.  She stepped out of her house in grief to meet Jesus as he approached.  She openly admitted her disappointment that Jesus had not arrived sooner. 


Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died, but even now I know that God will give you what you ask” (John 11:21-22 NLT).  Martha believed that Jesus could have healed her brother when he was sick and still alive.  It seems she did not even consider Jesus had the ability to overcome death itself.  It appeared death had won.  However, death had no stronger hold on Lazarus than an illness in JESUS’ presence.


Jesus then gave Martha a promise.  In John 11:23 Jesus stated, “Your brother will rise again.”  She believed him, but only in the sense that Lazarus would rise again with all the righteous on the last day.  Dramatically, Jesus boldly claimed he is the resurrection and the life.  He did not claim to understand hidden secrets but claimed that He is the resurrection and the life.  Jesus drew Martha’s attention to himself, the resurrection.


Jesus boldly challenged Martha to trust that He is the source of eternal life.  He said, “He who believes in me will never ever die.”  Humanity generally fears death, but the one who finds life in Jesus has nothing to fear.  Martha had the choice to truly believe and not simply give Jesus mental assent.  Jesus called on Martha to confess her faith. He asked her, “Do you believe this?”


Finally, Jesus got Martha to act on her faith.  As Jesus was commanding the stone to be removed from the tomb entrance, Martha protested due to the stench of a dead man.  Jesus rebutted this, asking her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”


Allowing the tomb to be opened was a step of faith for Martha as she and her sister obeyed Jesus.


Each time Jesus and Martha interacted throughout the account, Jesus dealt with her in steps that would strengthen and stretch her faith.

  • Jesus gave her a promise: that her brother would live again
  • Jesus pointed her attention to himself, the resurrection
  • Jesus asked Martha to confess her faith
  • Jesus had Martha act on her faith


Just as in the account of Lazarus, we all find ourselves in different situations and at different points of faith.  However, we must follow how Jesus led Martha.

  • Utilise the promises in the Word of God and keep them in front of your eyes
  • Confess your faith because faith most certainly has a voice
  • Your faith will rise to the level of your confession


As you walk and obey Jesus, you act on faith