JESUS, IT’S YOUR FAULT… BUT IT’S NOT TOO LATE!
By: Frank G. Tunstall
Martha’s decision to go meet Jesus when she heard the Lord was on the outskirts of Bethany in Israel meant Martha’s faith would blossom before Mary, her sister, because Mary chose to stay at home and did not go to Jesus with her sister. Martha’s first words to Jesus when she met Him were spoken out of her grief, “If you had been here my brother would not have died” (John 11:20). “Jesus, it’s your fault.”
Martha’s next words were a bold faith statement: “Even now it’s not too late, for I know God will bring my brother back to life again if you will only ask him to” (John 11:22 TLB). [“Jesus, you can raise him from the dead now!”]
Think about it: Mary is most often thought of as the more spiritual of the two sisters. Does this conclusion need to be re-thought? While Mary was at home in her deep grief, perhaps depression, Martha’s faith was growing. Jesus answered her: “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23 NIV).
It appears Martha’s faith then took a step backward and she answered Jesus with her rational mind. and not with the faith that was flowering in her heart. Perhaps she could not believe what had just come out of her mouth, so she changed her confession: “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day,” she said to Jesus (John 11:24 NIV). Her logical thinking had zeroed in on the cold reality: Lazarus had been dead four days; death was surely final for her brother. This was all-the-more-true considering decomposition had already set in after four days.
Nobody had ever heard of a person coming back to life after death, period; end of subject!
Let it be underscored, however, that Martha was talking to Jesus, and faith had flashed in her heart to believe Jesus could do impossible things when He asked His Father.
Jesus answered her, nudging Martha to leap in her confidence in Jesus to a whole new level of faith. “I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus said to her. “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NIV).
Dear reader, may I please challenge you with Jesus’ question: “Do you believe this?” – that Jesus in His own person is the essence of resurrection and of life – never dying eternal life?
Wow! What authority Jesus holds.
Martha made the leap of faith! “Yes, Lord,” she exclaimed to Him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world” (John 11:27 NIV).
Amid all of Martha’s grief and pain associated with the death and burial of her only brother, Martha continued to believe with an open heart. In that very special and exciting moment, she stepped into the major league of divine truth and made the great confession of faith that Jesus is God’s Son. She, in fact, made the confession before her sister did.
This declaration is all the answer needed, when fully assimilated, to heal a wounded heart with broken expectations.
Jesus, it’s your fault, but it’s not too late!
Yes, the Lord who experienced unimaginable pain on His cross sometimes uses sorrow and mourning to aid growth in faith. The eternal God who is love employs pain like a physician uses a scalpel in a surgery; a surgeon cuts out the problem to make recovery possible. With the Great Physician, His followers find new spiritual health amid their suffering and pain, and are routinely motivated to climb to a new level of faith.
Both the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter later spoke to this great truth:
“I reckon the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 KJV).
“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:10–11; see also 5:1 KJV).
Martha had walked through soul-wrenching, aching grief those four long, lonely days after Lazarus’ death, before Jesus arrived back in Bethany.
A question, for you, dear reader. If Martha had not lived through those ninety-six hours feeling abandoned by Jesus, would she have been able to comprehend Jesus as “the resurrection and the life” and as “the Son of God who [had] come into the world?”
Our response to our suffering routinely determines if we will draw closer to Jesus, or walk away from Him. Martha chose to deepen her faith as her way of dealing with her disappointment that Jesus had not come on her timeline. Her choice meant she was beginning to discover the great meaning of agape love, the love of God.
Think about it: When we have absorbed Jesus as the essence of all life, including resurrection life, how can the body of Christ ever endorse abortion on demand that legally ends life in the womb? It is unthinkable that Jesus Christ, who is “the resurrection and the life” would affirm such a choice.
Esther Kerr Rusthoi (1909–1962), poet, song writer, and evangelist, is best remembered for her service as associate pastor of Angeles Temple in Los Angeles. She captured the great truth of how we are to trust our Lord in all situations, even amid suffering, with her most famous hymn, “When We See Christ.”
Sometimes the day seems long
Our trials hard to bear.
We´re tempted to complain
to murmur and despair.
But Christ will soon appear
to catch his bride away!
All tears forever over
in God’s eternal day.
Chorus: “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.”