23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
Still in the middle of the drama of a dead Lazarus and weeping sisters, Jesus tells Martha very plainly what is about to happen. Jesus came with the plan to raise Lazarus from the grave. But Martha cannot imagine this concept. She knows that Lazarus will rise from the grave at the end of history when God raises all the dead. But she has no category in her mind to think that Jesus could bring Lazarus back right now.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Now Jesus says something of massive importance. Instead of pointing Martha’s hope to a coming day of resurrection, Jesus gives her a powerful “I am” statement. Jesus tells Martha that he is the resurrection and the life.
Five times now in John’s Gospel, we have seen Jesus say that he is something. He said he is the bread of life in 6:35, the light of the world in 8:12, the door in 10:7, the good shepherd in 10:11, and now the resurrection and the life in 11:25. In each of these statements, Jesus is calling the people to think much bigger about these issues. He does not want the people to look for a handout of bread; Jesus is the bread of life. Don’t just look for light to guide you; Jesus is the light. Don’t just look for a door to heaven; Jesus is the door. Don’t just look for guidance; Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for you. And now, amazingly, don’t just look forward to a day when the dead rise; Jesus is the resurrection. He does not want you to look for something out there to find hope in, he is the one in whom your hope finds its life.
Jesus asks Martha what she believes. Martha declared that she believed that Jesus could do anything he wanted. Yet, she had no category in her mind of him raising the dead. She looked forward to a day of resurrection, but her looking forward to that day made her miss something crucial about the person of Jesus. Jesus is bigger, greater, more glorious than Martha had ever imagined.
Let me ask you, is your picture of Jesus too small? Do you think of him as an important part of your private life, but not someone who changes the very fabric of your being? Do you think of him as a nice story, or do you see Jesus as the one for whom all of the universe exists? I challenge you to ask yourself if your picture of Jesus is too small. If it is, learn to believe that Jesus is more than you have ever imagined.