"Do you believe this?"
Mary and Martha send an urgent message to Jesus that their brother, and his friend, Lazarus, is seriously ill. Jesus waits two days before responding and then decides to journey to their home in Bethany, a town only two miles from Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is the seat of the religious authorities who have already determined that Jesus is dangerous. Yet, displaying his courage, toughness, and compassion, Jesus decides to go knowing the conflict that awaits him.
Martha first meets Jesus acknowledging that Jesus' presence would have saved her brother. But expressing his power over sin and death both in this life and the world to come, he explains to Martha: "I am the resurrection and the life." And then he asks her: "Do you believe this?"
Jesus asks you and me the same question. We read how he raised Lazarus from the dead. We know people whose lives Jesus has changed. Yet, we also recognize the cost of following Christ, the toughness and courage a life of faith requires.
The question of faith, of belief, is not about rules and regulations, but what I believe about Jesus, his relationship to God and his ability to save me and change me.
Today, as I begin a new week in a new year, "Do I believe this?"
Ludwig WeaverJohn 11:25b: "I am the resurrection and the life."