Do you recognize these words? Do you know who said them? “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” The words sound familiar, but these are not the words of Peter when he answered Jesus’ question, “But who do you say that I am” (Matt. 16:13). Would it help if I mentioned that the words were spoken by a woman, whose brother had been dead for four days? She was one of two surviving sisters, but which one?
The faith in this woman’s heart is remarkable. There were many in the first century who did not believe in the resurrection, but she did. The Jewish sect which believed in the resurrection were the Pharisees (Acts 23:8). Josephus says that there were about 6,000 Pharisees (Antiquities xvii, 2, 4). She did not believe in the resurrection because she was a Pharisee, but she believed in the resurrection because she believed in Jesus!
Her opening words to Jesus as He arrived at the house were, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” She knew the Lord. She knew His compassion. She knew His power. She knew that the hope for the all of the dead and grieving rested upon the Lord.
She continued her greetings by saying, “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” A key word in this statement is the word “now.” She does specifically ask for her brother’s resurrection. She knew that on the last day he would be raised. Her words do not show a lack of faith but a submissive spirit to whatever God’s plans were.
The pain of dealing with the death of her brother was tempered by a firm assurance that on the last day her brother would be raised. This is how faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, impacts the lives of believers. While the present is filled with despair, the hope for the future is based in the trust one has in His words.
It is significant that this woman’s faith was shared by her sister. The fact they used the same words is strong evidence that they had discussed the matter. The sister’s opening words to Jesus were, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” It is so important to reaffirm our faith to others when we face trials.
What impact does your faith in Jesus have in your life? Do you know the Lord, His compassion and His power? As you look to the future, is it filled with hope?
Do you know this woman? Her name is Martha.