Martha: “I Have Believed”

“She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”” (John 11:27 ESV)

Martha’s response to Jesus, and what a response it is.  There is no clearer statement of faith made by any person in the New Testament.  Did she have a full understanding of what her belief entailed?  No, she obviously did not, but that doesn’t make it any less genuine.  Just because one doesn’t have a full understanding about the atonement when one comes to faith as a child, does not make that faith invalid, it just makes it partial, with further knowledge comes greater understanding, not new faith.

John uses an interesting verb tense when he quotes Martha: “I believe that…”, this is not the best translation, but the expression is hard to translate.  John uses the Greek perfect tense which was used when something had happened in the past, and was still true in the present.  Henry Alford points out that her expression could be translated:  “have believed and continue to believe:” i.e. ‘have convinced myself, and firmly believe.”

What did she believe?  She believed that:

  • Jesus was the Christ, which is the Greek word for “Messiah.”
  • Jesus was the Son of God
  • Jesus was the one “who is to come into the world.”

In other words, Jesus was the long promised and long awaited Deliverer of Israel.  Which is pretty much exactly what Jesus meant when he said, “He who lives and believes in me will never die.”

So yeah, we are going to see Martha in heaven.

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