Do You Believe? 5 Questions to Encourage You in Hope This Easter

Encounter the hope of Jesus’s resurrection with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus

Mary and Martha lived in a world without Easter.

Their brother, Lazarus, was dead.

To add to this heartbreak, Jesus—a man they had welcomed into their home and someone their brother considered a dear friend—did not arrive when they needed him most. In fact, Jesus did not come to them until four days after Lazarus had been buried.

For these sisters, their entire world was shattered by the painful reality of death.

An Undeniable Reality

In the first century, Jewish people like Mary and Martha participated in a burial and grieving process that lasted for days.

The sisters likely washed and prepared Lazarus’s body themselves and walked in a funeral procession from their home to Lazarus’s tomb. Most Jewish mourners spent at least seven days lamenting the death of their loved one. By the time Jesus finally arrived, Mary and Martha were all too familiar with the truth that Lazarus was gone.

You’ve probably felt the same sting of death in your own life.

Perhaps, like Mary and Martha, you have lost a beloved brother, sister, parent, spouse, child, or friend. Or maybe your familiarity with death has come in the form of a terminal diagnosis in yourself or someone you love.

You might remember a phone call that seemed to stop time as you learned about the unexpected death of a loved one. Or maybe you stumbled across news of death while scrolling through Facebook or glancing through your church bulletin.

Beyond our own personal losses, we see the reality of death all around us. In our modern world, we are too familiar with the endless news cycle of mass violence, destruction, and death in our culture.

Like Mary and Martha, no matter where we look, we can’t escape the reality of death.

An Unexpected Question

When Jesus arrives, Martha comes out to meet him.

She and her siblings had heard and witnessed Jesus’s miracles. She knows that if Jesus had arrived in time, surely Lazarus would still be alive. But now, that hope seems to have faded.

Jesus does not seek to distract Martha from the reality of death. Instead, he asks her a question:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; and those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26 GNT)

This one simple question makes Martha—and us—pause and consider who Jesus is.

For Martha, the answer seems clear. Jesus is the Messiah, the promised deliverer who would save his people from their sin. But even the Messiah cannot overrule death—can he?

Jesus responds by going to Lazarus’s tomb with Mary, Martha, his disciples, and the other mourners. He sees their sorrow, and he weeps with them. Even Jesus feels the painful sting of death, and he grieves the way his Father’s world has been broken by sin and suffering.

When Jesus tells the mourners to roll away the stone sealing Lazarus’s tomb, they are shocked. Martha even reminds him that after four days, the stench of Lazarus’s decomposing body will be overwhelming. But Jesus encourages her to have faith: “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?” (John 11:40 GNT).

The stone is rolled away. Jesus commands Lazarus to come out. And, in what must have been the most shocking scene many in the crowd ever witnessed, Lazarus emerges from his tomb.

An Unshakeable Hope

Jesus himself walks a path that leads to the tomb.

He prays alone in the hours before his death while his disciples fall asleep nearby. He is betrayed by Judas Iscariot, a man who witnessed Jesus’s miracles and was among his closest companions. He is abandoned by his other disciples and denied by Peter. And he is beaten, ridiculed, and crucified.

To Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Jesus’s other followers and friends, this must have seemed like death’s ultimate victory.

Jesus, the one who claimed to be the resurrection and the life, was dead.

But the story wasn’t over yet. Through his miraculous encounter with Mary, Martha, and the resurrected Lazarus, Jesus demonstrated his power over death. He also foreshadowed his own resurrection from the tomb three days after his death.

On Easter morning, Jesus proved that he is the resurrection and the life. How happy Mary, Martha, and Lazarus must have been to see the power of death finally overturned by the reality of Jesus’s resurrection!

Today, as we live between the time of Jesus’s triumphant resurrection and his second coming, we can often forget that death no longer has the final say. We still see its devastation. We still feel its heartbreak.

The Bible encourages us to look at the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. By doing this, we can find renewed hope as we view a world shattered by death through the lens of the resurrection.

5 Questions to Encourage You in Hope This Easter

Here are five more questions about who Jesus is to remind you of Scripture’s promises and inspire your faith. Meditate on these Scriptures and ask God to encourage you in hope today!

Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to repair your relationship with God?

Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.”

John 14:6 GNT

Do you believe that Jesus’s suffering on your behalf covered your sins?

“He endured the suffering that should have been ours,
the pain that we should have borne.
All the while we thought that his suffering
was punishment sent by God.
But because of our sins he was wounded,
beaten because of the evil we did.
We are healed by the punishment he suffered,
made whole by the blows he received.”

Isaiah 53:45 GNT

Do you believe that all those who believe in Jesus receive eternal life?

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.

John 3:16 GNT

Do you believe that Jesus understands you completely and sympathizes with every struggle you face?

Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin.

Hebrews 4:15 GNT

Do you believe that Jesus and his promises never change?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 GNT

As we celebrate this season of Jesus’s resurrection, we pray that you will be encouraged in your faith by abiding in the promises of Jesus in Scripture! We invite you to continue meditating on God’s Word with one of our free devotional guides:

Related Blogs

Thanks to the support of our faithful financial partners, American Bible Society has been engaging people with the life-changing message of God’s Word for more than 200 years.

Help us share God's Word where needed most.

Give Now

Sign up to stay in touch with how God is changing lives with his Word!


Subscribe Now

Sign up to stay in touch with how God is changing lives with his Word!