The Most Important Question

Jon Burgess


“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”” John‬ ‭11:25-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬


I love that Jesus is there to talk to Martha and Mary in their desperate places of despair. There is anger, frustration and loss as they cannot comprehend why Jesus took so long in coming to them. As friends of Jesus they had seen Him heal many with worse ailments then what their brother Lazarus was suffering from. Why heal them and not him? That's a good question. It's not, however, the most important question. Jesus doesn't chastise them for their doubt. He invites them to see he too is mourning. Jesus weeps at the loss of his friend while knowing that this is part of The Fathers plan. He tells His disciples,"Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him" (John 11:14). Resurrection changes everything. Whether resurrection in this life of in the life to come it means death is no longer the end of the story. The jarring nature of death calls us to reexamine life!


The death of a loved one forces every person near or far from God to slow down and ask themselves the question Jesus asked Martha that day. This is the most important question that can be asked. "Do you believe?" Believe what? That death is not the end. That there is an afterlife and where you spend it is determined by who you believed in this life. The way we answer this question is everything. This moment is essential because the dash between our birth date and our death date is truly a dash, a quick sigh, an inhale and exhale. The death of a loved one is not only the celebration of what that person meant to us and others but is a recalibration to what actually matters in the life we are still living. It causes us, if responded to properly, to have a conversation with Jesus as Martha and Mary did. "How am I using the time I've been given?" "Have I been taking for granted the gift of life I've been granted from God?" "Am I living for the temporal or the eternal?" Again, all of those questions flow from this one: "what do I believe"? The wisdom of King Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 7:2-3 reveals this question deamands an answer most clearly when at a funeral: "Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies- so the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us." This is not an invitation to a morbid life, but a meaningful one. This is not a fascination with death but a celebration of life. This is moment we see what matters most!


Today I join in pray with many from the New Hope Ohana and thank you for Pastor Jonathan Smith and his influence on my life and those around me. The eternal impact of his heart and passionate pursuit of You is evident. Even in the middle of his battle with cancer he was giving You glory. It was only a few weeks ago that his son Pastor Justin was sharing with us how his Dad was up leading worship at New Hope Leeward services. He passed from this life to eternal life with a song for You on His lips. What his body would no longer allow him to sing here he now gets to sing for eternity to You. We look forward to the day when we get to join in the chorus with him. We lift up before You his wife Linda and his children, Marde, Tammie, Joshua and of course Justin. We look at his life and see how nothing could shake Jon's belief in You. We pause right now and ask ourselves the question: "What do you believe?"

Devotions for August 09

Jeremiah 3,4
John 11

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