Do You Believe This?

They came. They saw. But they were not expecting anything like this. This was something from ancient times, like in the days of the prophets – Elijah the prophet.

It began when Yeshua was walking in the Temple, in Solomon's porch and the authorities had surrounded asking Him, to simply respond to a straightforward claim, "If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."

Yeshua replied, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me . . . I and my Father are one." (John 10:24-25, 30)

The authorities were infuriated, and began picking up stones with which to stone Him. "Yeshua answered them, 'Many good works I have shown you from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?'" . (John 10:31-32)

Yeshua was Torah-observant. He kept the Law and had not broken any of the commandments. Indeed, Yeshua was typically orthodox, note the "many good works I have shown you . . . " .

However, the authorities were concerned because they believed Him to be a blasphemer. "For a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy, and because you, being a man, make yourself God." (John 10:33)

Again Yeshua directed them to Torah. "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"'? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture can not be broken), do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?

"If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me; but if I do, though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him." (John 10:34-38)

Yeshua walked free, the authorities could not detain Him. He was Torah-observant and had performed many good works. If they were to succeed in finding fault with Him they needed more evidence. Informants were dispatched to watch Him, and report back anything that might incriminate Him. And so that is how some informants came to be among those who mourned Lazarus' death.

Yeshua was a close friend of Lazarus. His sisters, Martha and Miriam had attended him during his sickness and had even sent word to Yeshua anticipating He would come. However, He had not arrived by the time Lazarus died. Mourners had gathered and there was still no sign of Yeshua.

Then Yeshua arrived. It was four days since the body of Lazarus had been laid in the tomb, and Martha was the first to greet Him. "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." (John 11:21-22)

These were bold words of courage and faith, spoken by a righteous woman of Israel, a true daughter of Abraham. Martha believed that Yeshua could have, and would have stopped her brother's illness and made him well again if He had arrived earlier. According to Martha, Yeshua had an intimate connection with the God of Israel – the type of connection only found among the prophets of Israel – " . . . whatever you ask of God, God will give you."

"Yeshua 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.' Yeshua 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 Messiah, the Son of God, who is come into the world.'" (John 11:23-27)

Martha's declaration clarified the relationship between Yeshua and the God of Israel. He was more than just another prophet. Yeshua was the Prophet whom Moshe (Moses) promised would come. "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear . . . " (Deuteronomy 18:15)

This was not quite what the informants were hoping for. Martha had been a faithful supporter and disciple of Yeshua, but she was also a highly respected woman in Israel; her statements would not help the situation. The authorities were looking for ways to incriminate Yeshua, not to elevate Him.

So the informants remained with the mourners hoping for something that they could report back to the authorities. Then it happened.

The crowd of mourners had followed Martha and Miriam, who led Yeshua to where Lazarus was buried.

"Yeshua 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.' Yeshua 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 Yeshua 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 wrapped with a cloth. Yeshua said to them, 'Loose him, and let him go.'" (John 11:39-44)

Seeing someone raised from the dead is unique – powerful. Only true prophets of Israel can perform God's miracles. It is one way in which the prophet's message can be vindicated. Lazarus was resurrected by the word of Yeshua, and this after Lazarus had lain in the grave no fewer than four days. This was a miracle of God. What more proof was needed? Clearly, Yeshua was God's servant and His messenger.

The informants returned to Jerusalem to give a report. The authorities were not impressed with the recent developments. Yeshua was becoming more and more popular. More and more believed in Him because He had worked many signs.

Yeshua was a Torah-observant orthodox Jew. He was a prophet. Indeed, He was the Prophet whom Moshe (Moses) promised would come. Yeshua was sent by the Father with a message for His people: "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." (John 11:25-26)

The many good works which Yeshua performed vindicated His message and were irrefutable proof that He was sent by the Father. There remains only one question, "Do you believe this?"

Many Jewish people today have joined their voice with Martha's: "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." (John 11:26)