“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” John 11:27
Relate: The economy of words is a talent that all of us cherish but few of us possess. Perhaps the greatest demonstration of this was given in Gettysburg after one of the most deadly battles of the civil war. To commemorate the occasion, Edward Everett stepped up to the podium. He was the president at Harvard University and was considered the greatest orator of his day. For more than two hours he waxed eloquent on the glories and the tragedies of the battlefield and the nobility of the Union’s cause. When he was done, an over tall, ugly, bumbling man stepped up to that podium to deliver “a few remarks”. In 272 words (about half the length of my normal posts here) he delivered one of the most profound and famous speeches in history. You could say those first five words “Fourscore and seven years ago” and virtually every fifth grader and nearly everyone older than that in America could immediately tell you that is the Gettysburg address. About that other guy’s speech… Edward who?
React: The economy of words. In one sentence Martha mastered it. In one short statement of belief she made five profound statements that resonate with each of us.
1) I have always believed – At some point in time, during some conversation or moment of reflection Martha came to consciously realize just who Jesus was. It might have been slow and steady. It might have been an “aha” moment, but however it occurred, the truth Martha came to realize was one that she, and all of us, subconsciously have always known deep down inside. Jesus truly is God.
2) You are the Messiah – The Anointed One. Jesus was and is the fulfillment of the hopes and prayers of every good Jew from our current day all the way through time back to Moses, Abraham and beyond all the way to Adam. Every prayer. Every longing. Every heart’s cry. Every hope. Every prophesy. It all finds its fulfillment in Jesus.
3) You are… the Son of God – Jesus has special and unique access to the Father. He has a relationship with the Father that the rest of us can only have through Him. This has special meaning for her at that moment because she is devastated with the grief at the death of her brother and Jesus is the only realization of the flame of hope that He Himself ignited when He said, “Lazarus will rise again.”
4) You are… the one who has come into the world – God has come to us. Every conscientious Jew would know how impossible it was to keep the Law. Some of the 613 commandments might seem easy but taken as a whole, it is impossible. Try as hard as we like, each and every one of us will fall short, frequently in our attempt to reach God. It cannot be done. But God, in the form of Jesus, clothed Himself in humanity to come to us. He did not leave us to strive in vain.
5) You are… from God – There is a caricature of God that some of us hold that Jesus is the loving and compassionate aspect of God and the Father is the Just, Wrathful, Vengeful aspect. We need Jesus to shield us from the Father. Even though most of us would deny this when we see it like that, deep down many of us still hold this type of view at some level of our subconscious. The truth is Jesus did not come of His own accord. He was sent by the Father, He spoke and did only the will of the Father. God the Father loves each and every one of us so deeply and passionately that He would willingly sacrifice His only Son that we might find reconciliation and redemption.
All of this, and so much more, was packed into Martha’s 22 word statement of faith. She had mastered an economy of words. She knew so deeply in her soul just what she believed that there was no need to wax eloquent. Do I? Do you? What exactly is it that we believe?
Jesus, I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God. Take each of these points of truth and hammer them deep into the very core of my being. I want to know You so fully and deeply and intrinsically that there is no room for anything else. You are my all.