23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her,
Jesus told Martha what was shortly to occur with Lazarus.
“Your brother will rise again.”
Jesus made a startling declaration about what was to occur. Martha did not grasp the full impact of what He said about her brother rising again. The word “again” does not occur in the Greek. Jesus spoke of resuscitation—a temporary resurrection, not eternal resurrection at this point. In other words, Lazarus would come to life immediately only to die again at some point in the future.
Jesus referenced Lazarus’ immediate resurrection but Martha did not grasp that meaning. Lazarus would not at this point receive a resurrection body like Jesus.
Martha said to Him,
Martha misunderstood Jesus’ statement “Your brother will rise again.” She shoved Lazarus’ resurrection off into a distant future.
“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Martha implied that it was not possible to see Lazarus until the resurrection in the last day. The final resurrection was nothing new to Martha. The Old Testament taught the doctrine of the body rising after death (Job 19:25-27; Ps 16:10; Da 12:2). She thought that Jesus had the power to raise Lazarus “at the last day.” She entirely missed the point that Jesus could raise her brother immediately.
God reveals His will progressively.
Martha misunderstood Jesus’ statement “Your brother will rise again.” She took it to mean that he would rise at the final general resurrection. In our day we encourage loved ones at death by speaking of a future hope. However, Jesus spoke of something entirely different here. He did something special for the sisters. He would raise Lazarus before the general resurrection.
God always helps us to understand His will progressively. He gives us as much as we can bear at any given point (Jn 16:12; 1 Co 3:1, 2). Slow progress in the faith usually relates to dullness spiritually.