(John 11:21-23 NIV) “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Faith and Patience VOL III – Never Give Up!” by continuing with the story of Mary and Martha. Last week we closed out with Martha expressing her frustration to Jesus, saying, “Lord, if you have been here, my brother would not have died.” Most of us can identify with her. Her pain is obvious and understandable. But what Jesus said should have caused her faith to leap. When Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again,” she should have started praising God. However, her heart would not allow her to hope Lazarus. Her brother’s situation was beyond her capacity to believe. Since he had been dead for four days her belief system was closed to any possibility of a resurrection. Maybe if it had been four hours she might have thought that Jesus could still do something about it. But four days? Four long days? After four nights of crying herself to sleep, she was not open to believe God.
This is why it is critical that we expand our capacity to believe God. God is often looking to bless us, but we fail to even fathom the possibility of what He wants to do. When we expand our capacity to believe God we take our artificial limits off of our limitless God. Jesus plainly told her that her brother was going to rise again, but she missed it altogether. She said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” In other words she was saying, “Oh, I believe he will be part of the end time resurrection.” But Jesus was not talking about some distant thing; He was ready to MOVE right then and there in their lives. But Martha could not believe it. It’s hard to receive what you cannot perceive. She had lost her joy and lost her peace in believing God. She was no longer believing God for Lazarus. To her, Lazarus was part of the past.
Jesus gave her another try. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” That was a powerful statement. That should have shocked her faith back into place. That should have awakened her belief. That should have resurrected her hope. And I like the way that Jesus offered the statement to her. After He said it He asked, “Do you believe this?” In other words Jesus was saying, “If you can believe this, if you can believe that I can do anything, if you can believe that I have resurrection power, if you can believe that I can bring the dead back to life, then I can turn your dead and seemingly hopeless situation around.” But we will see tomorrow that she was not ready for it. What Jesus said went right over her head.
So what does this mean to you today? A few quick things:
1. Once you lose your joy and peace, it is just a matter of time before you stop believing God.
2. Once you stop believing God your faith will drop into the “OFF” position.
3. Once you relax the grip of your faith and you let go of your joy and peace, you will stop believing that “it” is even possible.
4. Once your belief system is closed to the possibility of something in your life, you are no longer open to God for it. Even if God speaks to you about it, it will be hard for you to receive.
5. So never believe something is over unless God tells you it is.
Closing Confession: Father, I know You to be the God of no limits. There is nothing too hard for You. So no matter what things look like (humanly and naturally), I will maintain my joy and peace in believing, I will operate in faith and patience, and I will continue to believe that You can and will move in my life. I will keep my faith switch in the “ON” position and keep on believing until You tell me to let go. My belief system is open for You to move in my life. I refuse to close the door to possibilities. I am open, I am ready, and I am receptive to whatever You want to do in my life today and any day! In Jesus’ name. Amen.