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  • Mike Dominick

The Resurrection and the Life



It had been four days since Jesus received word his dear friend, Lazarus, was ill. Worse than ill, Jesus waited until Lazarus died. Then He and His disciples made their way to Bethany. When He arrived, the mourners who had gathered with Martha and Mary assumed Jesus was there to pay His respects. After all, Lazarus was dead. It was too late for Jesus to do anything to save him, wasn't it?


Martha met Jesus first, and stated the obvious. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:21 NIV) Oh, Jesus. If only you had come when we sent for you. If only you had been here.


There have been times in my life when I have questioned that Jesus was with me when a hard thing happened. Jesus, if only you had been here. Surely you could have done something to prevent this pain I am experiencing. If only you had been here.


Still, Martha's faith is active even though her grief is real. She immediately followed "If only you had been here" with "But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” When I attend a funeral visitation, it isn't to raise the deceased from the dead. But this day, that is exactly what Jesus planned to do!


Jesus told Martha, “Your brother will rise again.” (John 11:23 NIV)


Martha figured Jesus was talking about the resurrection of the dead in the last day. After all, death is real. And death is final. Isn't it? Death is final to us, but it is only like sleeping to Jesus. That's what Jesus had told His disciples four days earlier. After He had said this, He went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” (John 11:11 NIV) To us, there is a huge difference between taking a nap and dying. But to Jesus, not so much. He can awaken us from the sleep of death!


Back to Jesus and Martha. What Jesus says next gives hope to the hopeless.


"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 NIV)


Our hope for resurrection is Jesus. Our hope for eternal life is Jesus. To believe in Jesus means we will live, even though we die. Jesus even goes one step further. Whoever lives believing in Jesus will never die. Natural death does not take life from those who trust in Jesus. It only ushers in eternal life. Death has been defeated. The One who is Life has conquered it for us. This is our living hope!


Martha makes an interesting response to Jesus' question, "Do you believe this?"


“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27 NIV)


Martha believes Jesus is Resurrection and Life because she believes He is the Messiah, the Son of God! No human Rabbi can give Resurrection and Life. Only the Son of God can do that. To know and believe who Jesus is means we can believe in what Jesus can do.


Mary comes out to meet Jesus and hits Him with the same grief-filled accusation: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."


Jesus was moved by their grief, and He wept with them. Then He asked to be led to the place where they had buried Lazarus. His tomb was a cave, with a stone laid across the entrance. When Jesus asked that the stone be rolled back, Martha said, "But Lord, by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." (John 11:39 NIV) Even Martha, who believes Jesus is the Son of God, and knows God will give Him whatever He asks, is having trouble believing Jesus can do anything about the death of her brother.


Jesus prayed a simple prayer, and then called out in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." And Lazarus did. Life returned to his body and he walked out of the tomb. At the voice of the One who is Resurrection and Life, Lazarus is raised from the dead. And at that Voice, so all who trust Him will be raised from our death to eternal life. This is our living hope.


The funny thing is, death loses its sting when Resurrection and Life are promised. When death can't kill us, we can live life that is full of, well, life. We can live for eternal things when we come to know and understand this life is not all there is. We can come to the glorious place of victory, knowing nothing life or Satan can do to us can destroy us because Jesus gives Resurrection and Life. It literally changes everything.


Do you believe this?



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