God’s Word Is Alive
Why Martha Believed in the Resurrection
ON HEARING that Jesus was coming, Martha ran out to meet him. “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died,” she said. Seeing her sorrow, Jesus comforted her with the words: “Your brother will rise.” Martha answered, as you can see here: “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.”—John 11:17-24.
Why did Martha have such strong faith that her brother Lazarus would be resurrected? Well, she knew, for example, that many years in the past God’s prophets Elijah and Elisha, with God’s power, had each resurrected a child. (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:32-37) And she knew that a dead man had come to life when he was thrown into a pit and had touched the bones of dead Elisha. (2 Kings 13:20, 21) But what had strengthened her faith in the resurrection the most was what Jesus himself had taught and done.
Less than two years before, Jesus had said: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.” (John 5:28, 29) Up until that time there is no Bible record that Jesus had resurrected anyone. But shortly afterward he raised to life the only son of a widow in the city of Nain. The news of this was carried south to Judea, so Martha was sure to have heard about it. (Luke 7:11-17) Later Martha was also sure to have heard reports about the resurrection by Jesus of the 12-year-old daughter of Jairus.—Luke 8:40-56.
Still Martha did not expect Jesus to resurrect her brother at this time. That is why she said: “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.” However, to impress on Martha the part he has in raising the dead, Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life.” And then he raised up Lazarus, even though Lazarus had been dead four days!—John 11:24-27, 38-44.
We today have even stronger reason to have faith in the resurrection. Why? Especially because of the raising to life of Jesus Christ himself. “This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses,” Peter said. (Acts 2:32) There can be no doubt that Christ was raised from the dead, for afterward he showed himself alive to many of his disciples, once to some 500 of them. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) So strongly did his disciples believe in the resurrection that they were willing to face persecution and even death to serve God. Do you have that kind of faith in the resurrection?
[Pictures on page 8, 9]
“Lord, . . . I know he will rise in the resurrection”
Lazarus ‘comes on out’