John 11:17-27 “Martha Meets Jesus”

(John 11:17)  Then when Jesus came, he found that he had [lain] in the grave four days already.

            Jesus arrived in Judaea and is told that Lazarus has been in the grave for four days.  We are not told who gave Jesus and His disciples this information but this news comes as no surprise to Jesus.  Jesus knew before the messenger had arrived that Lazarus was dead.  The disciples on the other hand are surprised for they had heard Jesus say that this sickness was not unto death.  It does not take them long to figure out that Lazarus was dead even before they had received word that he was sick.  This might have caused the disciples to doubt Jesus.  Is Jesus just a prophet?  Is He no better than Elisha from whom God had hidden the death of the shunammite’s son?  These questions and concerns must have been in the minds of the disciples after they received such shocking news.  Jesus, after all, had never been wrong before.


(John 11:18)  Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:

(John 11:19)  And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

            The close proximity of Jerusalem made for a large crowd of Jews who had come to comfort Mary and Martha. Not all of these who have come are believers for we shall see that some of them will run back to the Pharisees to tell on Jesus. They have come for a noble purpose.  I have found that just being there is a comfort to a grieving family.  These who had come had done so out of a desire to help.  They comfort by taking time out of their busy lives to spend time with the bereaved. It is no coincident that a large number have come and stayed for these four days.  They are here that they might see the Glory of God and the Son glorified.  They will take part in the praise that will result from this illness.  They will be the reason Lazarus was allowed to die. Many of these will come to believe in Jesus Christ as their savior because of the sickness of Lazarus.


(John 11:20)  Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat [still] in the house.

            Martha got word that Jesus was coming. It seems that everywhere Jesus goes someone has gone before Him to announce His coming. Martha does not pass the word on to her sister but immediately leaves her with the mourners and guests in their home and runs to meet Jesus.  Mary sat in the house being comforted by the Jews who have come to her home from Jerusalem.


(John 11:21)  Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

            Martha knows that Lazarus was dead before the messenger she had sent got to Jesus.  She does not blame Jesus for not being there but rather blames herself for not sending for Jesus sooner.  She makes a statement that reveals her faith in Jesus.  Jesus had the power to heal her brother no matter how sick he was. She has knows that Jesus has the compassion to heal for He loved Lazarus and would have been moved by His illness and suffering to such a degree that He would have healed him.  Martha knows Jesus well and has even greater faith as is demonstrated in the next verse.

(John 11:22)  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give [it] thee.

            She knows that even now though Lazarus has been dead for four days, Jesus is able to ask God for anything and God will give it to Him. She is convinced that whatever Jesus wants God will grant.  She knows that God is able to raise the dead.  She knows that if Jesus will ask that God can raise even Lazarus from the dead.  This is indeed great faith.


(John 11:23)  Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

            Jesus gives Martha this assurance that Her brother shall rise again. Jesus means that Lazarus is going to arise that very day.  Jesus is able to restore to life even one who has been dead for four days.


(John 11:24)  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

            Martha had, no doubt, heard these words of comfort before.  The Apostle Paul said comfort one another with these words.  There is a resurrection day.  There are two resurrection days (Acts 24:15).  There is the first resurrection (Rev. 20:5), which Jesus calls the resurrection of the Just (Luke 14:14) and the resurrection of life (John 5:29), and all those who take part in it are blessed. This is the resurrection of the saved.  Those who are saved will be raised from their graves and will be changed and received into the clouds of heaven.  They shall then forever be with the Lord.  We which are alive and remain who have been saved will be changed and will meet them in the air.  They shall be rewarded at that time for the works they have done for the Lord and will live with the Lord in the Holy City, New Jerusalem throughout the endless ages to come.

            There is a second resurrection of the dead.  This resurrection, which Jesus called the resurrection of damnation (John 5:29), is made up of the lost.  They will be raised from the dead to stand before the great white throne judgment.  These will be judged and will be cast into the lake of fire to burn forever.  The scriptures say of that place that their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. The casting of those who are a part of the second resurrection is called the second death (Rev 20:14).  It is eternal separation of the body and soul of a person from God.  This separation will be for all eternity in a place prepared for the Devil and his angels.


(John 11:25)  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

            Jesus explains to Martha exactly what the resurrection is.  Jesus is the resurrection.  Those who rise from the grave do so by the power of Jesus Christ.  He is also the life.  Those who are truly alive are those who have Jesus Christ as their savior.  Those who have believed in Jesus are saved and though they be dead yet shall they live.  They have spiritual life which comes to them at the point of faith and salvation and they have physical life to come at the resurrection.  They have everlasting life for they will never be separated from God.


(John 11:26)  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

            Those who are alive and believe will never die spiritually. God is said to Moses “I am the God of Abraham…” He is not a God of the dead but a God of the living. Those who have died physically having accepted Jesus Christ as their savior are still alive spiritually.  They will never die spiritually.

            Jesus asks Martha if she believes what He has said.  It is a question that everyone must answer.  Do you believe that those who trust in Jesus as their savior will never die?  They will die physically but not spiritually. Their death physically is only temporary.  It is like sleep, it only lasts a short time.  The body will rise again.  The believer can say with Job:

(Job 19:25-27)  For I know [that] my redeemer liveth, and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth: 26)  And [though] after my skin [worms] destroy this [body], yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27)  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; [though] my reins be consumed within me.


(John 11:27)  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

(John 11:27 my translation) She says unto Him, “Yes, Lord: I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”


            Martha gives the answer that I wish every person would give.  She said yes! She had believed that Jesus was the Christ, The Son of God, which should come into the world.  Martha is a believer.  She does not understand all that has happened and she does not understand what is about to happen.  She is confused about the message Jesus had sent and she does not now see how any of this could be for the Glory of God.  But Martha holds tightly to the things she does know for sure.  She knows that Jesus is her Lord, He is her Savior, He is the Son of God, He has the Power of God, He is the only mediator between God and man, and in the last days He will come again and raise the dead. 

            When you are in the midst of a storm, hold fast to these basic truths.  Jesus will cause all things to work together for our good and for His Glory.