by Rachael Stelzer
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‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’ (John 11:27).
Read John 11:1–45
In John’s beautifully crafted and deeply evocative gospel, there are 21 chapters. Ten chapters precede this one, and ten chapters follow it.
This personal and emotional chapter in John’s Gospel is the hinge, the crux of the matter. Jesus, confronted with his friend’s illness, chooses to stay where he is for two days, as he knows that ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it’ (verse 4). Jesus goes to his friends; he spends time, talks with them, and weeps.
Jesus’ beautiful conversation with Martha is the ultimate hospital bedside moment, the great graveside question. Verses 25 and 26 say, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’
And it is to us, too, that Jesus asks this question.
At the start of John’s Gospel, Nathanael declares, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel’ (John 1:49). At the end of his gospel, John explains, ‘these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name’ (John 20:31).
And Martha’s answer, here in the centre of the middle chapter of John, is the central message of John’s Gospel. ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’ (verse 27).
May we also have the courage and the faith, along with Martha, to proclaim our trust in Jesus, the resurrection and the life.
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Be at the centre of my life, and help me to boldly bear witness to you, the Messiah, the Son of God. Amen.
Rachael Stelzer is Primary Lay Chaplain at Coomera Anglican College near Brisbane. She is a member of Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Rochedale and teaches primary kids in the Growing Kids group. Rachael loves crafts, reading, and sharing meals, coffee and life with her family and friends.