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He Who Began A Good Work...

Leslie Shoots - January 12, 2017

I've recently joined Bible Study Fellowship. We are currently in John 11 where Jesus resurrects what was thought to be a smelly, decomposing Lazarus. Shortly before, Mary & Martha were beside themselves because it appeared their miracle-working Jesus arrived just a little too late. But, you know God! His timing is always perfect. Never early, but always perfect!

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?

One of the questions in our study was this: What is the meaning of John 11.25-26, and how are Jesus' words significant to you today?"

My John MacArthur study notes tell me that, with this statement by Jesus, Martha was moved from an abstract faith in the resurrection that will take place "at the last day" to a personalized trust in Jesus who alone can raise the dead.

I looked up the word abstract. Piecing together a few synonyms, here's how I answered the second question, "How are Jesus's words significant to me today?"

When I look back on my earlier years walking with the Lord, I realize now that I had a theoretical concept of Scripture, a mere philosophical "faith" in what It says.

Recently, however, I've been noticing how God is moving His Word from the abstract in my mind to the personal in my heart. Slowly but surely, He has been transforming my head knowledge of His Word to heart knowledge in His Word.

Heart & Mind

As I was sharing this with Paige, he pointed out Martha's back & forth as she struggled to wrap her heart & mind around what Jesus meant in John 11.38-40. Like Thomas, Martha needed to see things with her own eyes: to see her Lord raise her Lazarus.

Looking back, I can see where God has graciously worked in my life, too. It can't be denied! And, from this vantage point, I'm able see some of what the Lord has lying ahead. What I'm trying to say is this: our God is faithful to complete the good work He began. I know He will: I'm experiencing it!

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. -Philippians 1.6

Do We Believe?

Back to the original passage & question. After Jesus told Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life," He asked one simple question: "Do you believe?" That's a question for all of us. Do we believe? If you don't, it's not from a lack of evidence. As Christians, our entire lives display God's glory. And if we look through the eyes of faith, we see it; we see Him! We see Him in our trials. We see Him in our celebrations. We see Him in our circumstances. We see Him working His good purposes.

That's what Jesus wanted Martha to see. Before the stone was rolled away, her focus was, as MacArthur put it, "on the corpse and not on Christ." By God's grace, may we keep our eyes on the Author & Finisher of our faith!

Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. -Hebrews 12.2

May the Lord bless you all!