BIBLICAL INSIGHTS in 500 words
God’s Future Is Standing Before You
Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.
The pathos of this scene is palpable (vs. 17).
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days (John 11:17).
Martha confront Jesus.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here…” (vs. 21).
If only… We know that question. It is the way we analyze our grief, guilt, and disappointment.
- If only I had done…..
- If only I hadn’t done…
- If only others had….
“If only” turns the clock back. That is what Martha is saying,
- She knows that if Jesus had been there, her brother might have been cured.
- She also knows that it took two days longer than she expected.
Yet, she submits to the will of Jesus.
“I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (vs. 22).
Her submission does not expect Jesus to resurrect her brother. The context tells us that Martha did not anticipate what was about to happen. She is submitting to Jesus even when she does not understand his decisions and actions. Submission prepares her heart for a profound lesson:
Jesus will meet today’s problem
with something from God’s future.
Instead of looking toward the past, Jesus turns toward God’s tomorrow. Jesus brings the future. God’s future has invaded the present moment. Jesus points Martha toward the future:
“Your brother will rise again” (vs. 23).
Martha believes because this was standard Jewish teaching. Belief in a final resurrection was based on Daniel 12:1-2:
…at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
The promise of a New World is also found in Isaiah 65:17 and is the basis of Revelation 21.
I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
The Jews believed in the New Heavens and Earth when God would make all things new. Martha believes this.
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24)
She is not prepared for Jesus’s next response. He declares that God’s future is now in the present. The new Life and Resurrection that are scheduled for the end of time are standing before her in Jesus.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (vs. 25-26).
The Resurrection and the Life is not just a doctrine, but a Person, and he is standing in front of Martha.
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (vs. 27).
In Jesus, God’s Tomorrow is present Today! Do you believe?