"If Thou Wouldest Believe"

John 11:40

Don Fortner


     Our Lord is standing before the tomb of Lazarus with Martha and Mary, Lazarus' sisters. It appears that Martha had questioned the wisdom, goodness, and power of the Lord Jesus. She questioned the wisdom and goodness of the Lord's providence, because he had not come sooner to prevent her brother's death (v.21). And she questioned his power and ability to raise Lazarus from the dead (v.39). Without question, Martha was a believer. She was loved of God, and she loved God. She was chosen, redeemed and born again by God's almighty grace. But she had a problem, a fault, a weakness of the flesh that kept her from seeing the glory of God. Her problem was unbelief. She did not trust Christ in the matter of her brother's death. She looked at her present situation; and circumstances told her that Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, was beyond hope. She had grace enough to believe for the future. She said, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day" (v.24). But she did not trust Christ for the present. She walked by sight, not by faith. She acted according to reason, not according to revelation.

     Then "Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" The only thing that kept Martha from seeing the glory of God on this occasion was her unbelief. If she had only trusted Christ, as he ought to be trusted, she would have seen the glory of God in Lazarus' sickness and even in his death. And if she would only believe, she would see the glory of God in his resurrection from the dead. "If thou wouldest believe..." These words were not spoken to Martha alone. They were not intended to reprove and instruct Martha alone. They are recorded for our learning. This is what the Lord Jesus says to you and me: "If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God."

     How much like Martha we are! We profess that we trust Christ for all atonement, justification, eternal life and acceptance with God. But how quickly we murmur against his providence. If we trust him for the future, for the welfare of our immortal souls,shall we not also trust him for the present, for the welfare of our lives in this temporary house of clay? Lord God,give us grace to trust You as we ought today, for Christ's sake.