The Fundamental Question of Our Faith

Today’s Gospel is St. John’s account of the raising of Lazarus. Jesus hears that his good friend Lazarus is ill, yet delays two days before traveling to Lazarus’ home, with the result that Lazarus is dead when he arrives.

When Jesus meets Martha, she tells him (and I imagine her saying this with a mixture of distress and anger – maybe even more the latter than the former) that if he had been there, her brother would still be alive. Yet she adds, “even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

Jesus’ response is the first time he talks in a really direct way about resurrection and he speaks not about his own resurrection, but about Lazarus’. “Your brother will rise,” he tells Martha. And when she does not appear to fully comprehend him, Jesus expounds, saying, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Not do you believe I will rise. But do you believe that, through me, your brother will rise.

And that is the fundamental question of the Christian faith. Not do you believe the historical figure of Jesus rose from the dead, but do you believe that, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, even if you die, you will live….that you will never really die.

Martha gives Jesus her answer. “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

How you you answer when Jesus asks you the same question? And, as importantly, what difference does that make in your life?