Do You Believe This?

Title: Do You Believe This?

Bible Book: John 11 : 25-26

Author: Franklin L. Kirksey

Subject: Lordship; Resurrection; Salvation; Easter



Do you believe this? You might hear this question as two young boys make their way through an attraction called “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” They bill this attraction as “EVERYTHING ODD, WEIRD & UNBELIEVABLE!”[1] Ten years ago at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, as I perused the personal library of Dr. R.G. Lee I found a copy of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” Dr. Lee filled his sermons with interesting anecdotes.

John shares the following account in John chapter 11, “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, ‘Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.’ When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to Him, ‘Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.’ These things He said, and after that He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.’ Then His disciples said, ‘Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.’ However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.’ Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with Him.’ So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’ And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, ‘The Teacher has come and is calling for you.’ As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, ‘She is going to the tomb to weep there.’ Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, Where have you laid him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him!’ And some of them said, ‘Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?’ Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, ‘Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’ Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’ Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go’” (John 11:1-43).

From our text we read, “Jesus said to [Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26)

Please allow me to share three points from our passage.

I. First, we find a self identification of our Lord.

Some erroneously state Jesus never claimed to be God. Dr. H. R. (Hugh Ross) Mackintosh (1870-1936), a Scottish theologian, states, "The self-consciousness of Jesus, the account He gave of Himself, is, on any terms, wonderful in its coherence, in its complex unity, in its spiritual range and grandeur. There has never been anything like it in the world before; there has never been anything like it since."[2] You will receive a great blessing reading through all of the statements Jesus made of Himself. For example, “Jesus said to [Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life . . . .” (John 11:25a) This is one of the seven “I am” statements of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 6:48), “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12, 9:5), “I am the door”(John 10:7), “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11-14), “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and “I am the true vine” (John 15:1,5). Jesus made a series of bold declarations about his identity. In Luke 2:41-50 we read, “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.’ And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.”

Based upon the claims Jesus made of Himself, we may draw some logical conclusions. There are only four possibilities; He was a legend, a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God. The next time someone calls Jesus merely a good man or a great human teacher, remind them that is not a possibility. Jesus claimed to be God and proved that He was and is God. Uniquely, Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.

Dr. Kevin J. Vanhoozer shares, “In the 1930s, a missionary asked an African girl about six or seven years of age a most pertinent question: ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’ With a smile on her face, she responded cheerfully: ‘He is my Savior and He lives within my heart.’ As it happens, the missionary had previously studied at the University of Berlin with Professor Adolf von Harnack, one of the most renowned theologians and church historians of the twentieth century. The missionary recalled that one day in class Professor Harnack was addressing the same question: ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’ Harnack replied that Christ was the greatest man who ever lived. But the liberal theologian would not acknowledge that Christ was the divine Son of God who had died on the cross for our salvation and triumphed over death through the resurrection. In one sense, the young African girl understood the Gospel far better than the brilliant professor with all his theological knowledge.

Years later, the former missionary frequently recounted the story of the great German theologian and the young African girl. He compared her simple faith in Christ with the vast knowledge of the great theologian. She provided a remarkable illustration of Jesus’ teaching that unless we come to Christ with the faith of a little child, we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, indeed, the Gospel is so simple that children do understand it very well. The Statement reads: ‘The Gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.”[3]

II. Furthermore, we find a spiritual impartation from our Lord.

Among other things, “impart” means, “To communicate the knowledge of; to make known; to show by words or tokens; to tell; to disclose.”[4] Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25b-26a). Here, Jesus makes a bold promise. Please note His affirming messenger, His assuring manner, and His attesting miracles in three passages in the recorded by John. We encounter His affirming messenger in John 1:6-13 where we read, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” We discover His assuring manner in John 3:1-21 where we read, “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus answered and said to Him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ‘He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.’” We remember His attesting miracles in John 20:30-31 where we read, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” Even if the one making the promise is absolutely trustworthy it means little unless we act upon it.

III. Finally, we find a saving invitation by our Lord.

Jesus asks, “Do you believe this?” (John 11:26b) Dr. Mark McClellan, dean of the Joe L. Ingram School of Christian Service at Oklahoma Baptist University, shares the following, “It is clear, if not self-evident, that the Bible commands the proclamation of God’s message. (Luke 4:17-21) While it might appear obvious, we should ask if the Bible presents a call for a ‘response’ that could be identified as an invitation and is a part of the message proclaimed. Jesus did call for a ‘response’ with words such as ‘Repent and believe’ (Mark 1:15); ‘Follow me’ (Matt. 4:17, 19, 23); ‘Believe’ (John 11:26; 12:36); ‘Come unto me’ (Matt. 11:28), among others. Jesus both called and sent His disciples to proclaim a message, a message that in Jesus Christ alone there is salvation, there is redemption. (John 14:6) The proclamation of that message calls for a response, ‘Do you believe?’ Surely, we can and should invite people to respond to that message of truth as a conclusion and part of the proclamation of our message. Jesus called people in both public and private settings. Jesus’ disciple, Peter the Apostle, did the same thing at Pentecost when he concluded his message ‘Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ (Acts 2:38) An invitation can be a part of extending a call to respond.”[5]


Hendrik “Hank” Hanegraaff affirms, “The resurrection is not merely important to the historic Christian faith; without it, there would be no Christianity. It is the singular doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions. Through the resurrection, Christ demonstrated that he does not stand in a line of peers with Abraham, Buddha, or Confucius. He is utterly unique.”[6]

John writes, “Jesus said to [Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’” (John 11:25-27).

Do you believe this?

[1]Available from: Accessed: 04/08/12

[2]Rev. Hugh Ross Mackintosh, D. Phil., "Is Christ the Son of God?" in Questions of Faith: A Series of Lectures on the Creed, [Lectures from various authors] (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1904), pp. 54-55, Available from: Accessed: 04/08/12

[3]Kevin J. Vanhoozer, “Jesus Christ: Who Do We Say That He Is?” in This We Believe: The Good News of Jesus Christ for the World, gen. eds., John N. Akers, John H. Armstrong and John D. Woodbridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), p. 70

[4]Available from: Accessed: 01/31/12

[5]Mark McClellan, “A theological perspective on the ‘invitation/altar call”, April 4, 2011, Available from: Accessed: 01/31/12

[6]Hank Hanegraaff, “What are the most significant apologetics issues? “ Available from: Accessed: 04/07/12

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on and / [email protected] / (251) 626-6210

© April 8, 2012 All Rights Reserved

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