38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Jesus was once more deeply moved. Other translations say “Jesus was still angry…” So, the question is, “what gets Jesus angry”? The answer is in V40 where Jesus tells Martha, “didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?”
Jesus had sent the message that Lazarus would not die. Yet all that Martha could see was that Lazarus did die. And because Lazarus died, he was fully prepared for the grave and sealed in a tomb. For Martha, Lazarus was dead and buried, and Jesus didn’t keep his promise.
The disappointment of “seeing” Lazarus die, meant that Martha no longer believed what Jesus said. It was unbelief that moved Jesus deeply, it even made him angry.
But this is what I love about God. Martha’s unbelief didn’t stop Jesus from keeping his promise. It doesn’t matter what we can “see”, what matters is that even in our struggle to believe, God still keeps his promises.
No matter how bad things might look, even if what we are hoping for dies, nothing is too difficult for God. All that matters, is what God has said. Jesus raised Lazarus to life, Jesus kept his word.
Father, I know that I have given up on some thing’s because of what I can see. Help me to keep believing. I choose again to keep believing and trusting in you and your promises.
Written by Andrew Martin