Resurrection and the Life
by Seattle ALC
I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
One of the most moving stories recorded in the Bible is the relationship of the two sisters Martha and Mary and their brother Lazarus with Jesus. They lived in the town of Bethany, a short distance from Jerusalem. Jesus was often their guest.
When Lazarus became ill, his sisters sent a message to Jesus saying, “Behold he whom Thou lovest is sick”(John 11:3). After receiving this message, Jesus delayed his journey to Bethany by two days so that when he did arrive, Lazarus had been in the grave for four days. When Martha learned that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet Him, but Mary remained in the house. Upon their meeting, Martha said to Jesus: “Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever Thou will ask of God, God will give it Thee”(John 11: 21-22). When Jesus assured Martha that her brother would rise again, she said to Him: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Then Jesus said to her: “I am the Resurrection and the Life, he that believed in me though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die”(John 11:25-26). Then in His own loving and concerned way, Jesus asked Martha: “Believest thou this?” We hear Martha answer Him: “Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
Martha then went and told Mary:“The Master is come and calleth for thee.”At Mary’s meeting with Jesus, she fell down at His feet and repeated the words of her sister: “Lord if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” When Jesus saw Mary weeping and those that had come with her, He also wept. Some of the Jews who saw how Jesus loved them said: “Could not this man which opened the eyes of the blind have caused that even this man should not have died?”
We follow them to the grave and hear Jesus praying. Then he calls out: “Lazarus come forth.” The evangelist tells us “he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes and his face was bound about with a napkin.” Jesus then commanded: “Loose him and let him go”(John 11:43-44).
As we stand in awe of the mighty power of the Lord that was evidenced in this miracle, He draws near to each one of us and asks us the most important question of our lives. This is the question. Do we believe that He is The Resurrection and the Life? On this question rests our eternal destiny. Unless we believe that He was delivered unto death for our offences and was raised again from the dead for our justification we will never be partakers of eternal life.
He who called Lazarus forth from the grave was Himself later subjected to death. Not that His life was taken from Him, but He willingly laid it down for us as He said: “No man takes my life from me, I have the power to lay it down and I have the power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father”(John 10:18). We hear Jesus, the victor over death, say: “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive forevermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and death”(Rev 1:18). “…God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name that is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue should confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”(Phil. 2:9-11).
As we again celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, let us together with believers in every age exclaim with Peter the apostle: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God”(Matt. 16:16). Then we can also say with him: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that faded not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”(I Peter 1:3-5).
By Pastor Emeritus A. Holmgren
“Crown Him the Lord of life,
Who triumphed o’er the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife
For those He came to save;
His glories now we sing,
Who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives, that death may die.”
Crown Him the Lord of heaven,
For He is King of all.”
By Godfrey Thring, 1882
(From the April 2006 Bulletin)
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