“If you believed” certainly Jesus is talking about faith, the word Pisteuo means to believe to be true, to be convinced. But I don’t believe that it is simple faith, or even committed faith. That is not the key to getting a God to whatever you want. Faith is based on many factors, not the least of which is the plan, purpose, and character of God. You can believe all you want, but if God is not purposed to do it, if it isn’t in his nature, he isn’t going to do it. You believe all you want but it isn’t going to happen.
Then also, faith has to be combined with action. If I believe God for rain, then I better bring an umbrella. If I am a farmer and I am believing God is sending rain, then I need to get busy planting. What good is the rain if you aren’t going to plant?
So Jesus says in v15 that the purpose behind the death of Lazarus was “so that you may believe”. In this tragedy God was at work.
So then Martha is with Jesus questioning him about the death and Jesus says “your brother will rise again”v23 then that he is the Resurrection and life. And then he asks “Do you believe this?” And Martha has an interesting answer. She says “yes Lord, I believe you are the Christ …” And I sort of hear Jesus saying “that’s not what I asked you. I asked you if you thought I could change your circumstance.”
So through the mourning and the questioning, he ends up at the tomb, with Mary and Martha and he says “take away the stone” … ” But Lord … There is a bad odor … It has been four days.”
Can I ask you, what has God told you to do? Did you do it, or did you have a list for God about why you couldn’t, or shouldn’t, why it wouldn’t work? I seem to remember a God saying “who has counciled me? Who was there when I laid out the Heavens?” It is sort of like giving Steph Curry tips on shooting a basketball or a lesson on physics to Einstein. I heard that once the King told Mozart that his music “had. Too many notes.” To which Mozart replied “how many notes is the right amount?”
Jesus says “roll the stone away” and she says “but Lord” … And so then v40 “Did I not tell you …” Listen, faith is not blind trust. It is about accepting and acting on Divine Revelation. God reveals, he instructs, and that revelation is an invitation. The equation is this
Revelation = Invitation to join him
Invitation = Expectation to respond in faith
Expectation = Provision by God of what we need
Provision = Subtraction of Excuses
Jesus didn’t ask Mary or Martha to raise Lazarus, he just asked them to believe him enough to show up and watch him work. We often miss the glory of God, not because it isn’t there, or isn’t available, but because we don’t believe and show up.
v41 “So they too the stone away”. They did the one thing he asked, an act of faith in action, obedience. And then I love the next two words, “Then Jesus” …
“Then Jesus” … MAN THAT’S THE STUFF RIGHT THERE!!
If I will believe God and show up, and act in faith, then a Jesus will take care of the “Jesus stuff”. He is the miracle worker. The Holy Spirit is the power of God. Ephesians 1:19-20 says “his incomparably great power (is) for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead …”
His is the Power
His is the Glory
We simply must listen, believe, and show up acting in obedience … Jesus will take care of the God stuff
Hallelujah Thine the glory
Hallelujah Thine the glory
Revive us again (W.P. Mackay-1863)