Resurrection and Life

There is so much that can happen in our lives that brings sadness and grief. We have all experienced the dreaded news of a loved one who has died, or has been diagnosed with a terminal disease. We have all sat in the auditorium of numerous funeral homes and have witnessed the great hurt and sadness of the family who has lost their father, brother, uncle, and friend. The scene does not change, but rather it will continue to be repeated throughout our lives until we are the one who is being remembered. Life moves so quickly! Time seems to never slow down! Each moment that slips away is only one more step closer to our inevitable end. Death and its results constantly surround our lives and haunts our dreams. How does anyone find relief and hope in such morbidity as death?

In His life, Jesus experienced many of the same pains and sorrows that we share. The Hebrew writer said, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same…” (Hebrews 2:14a). Jesus knew the pain of losing a close friend, and in one of the most beautiful scenes, Jesus wept for His lost friend, Lazarus (John 11:35). Jesus understood the fear of death in man, but He came to offer man an alternative choice. This choice would not give us the ability to escape physical death, but rather it gives us hope in death. The Hebrew writer continued to say, “…that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14b). Death is no longer our greatest fear, but rather we can have victory over the grave!

Prior to weeping at Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus had spoken to Lazarus’ sister, Martha (John 11:20-27). Martha had tremendous faith in Jesus’ ability to heal her brother from his sickness, but Lazarus had now been dead for four days. The effect of death and its finality had figuratively covered Martha’s eyes from seeing the power of God at work. Jesus replied, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha responded as a good Jew who believed in the resurrection of the faithful, but Jesus was not speaking of some future day, but rather an immediate resurrection. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” Martha replied, “Yes, Lord: I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” Martha’s faith is incredible, but was still being limited by her brother’s death four days prior.

When Jesus arrived at Lazarus’ tomb, He commanded the stone to be removed. Martha said, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days” (11:39). The stone was moved and after praying to the Father, Jesus called for Lazarus to come forth. Can we even begin to imagine the scene? The dead one had been buried and the grave was sealed shut. There was no hope! There was no power great enough, was there? Jesus called for Lazarus to come forth. The writer records the miracle, “The man who died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (11:44). The impossible was made possible through the power of God. The one who had been dead and buried for four days was miraculously resurrected from the dead. Death no longer has power over us, but rather we have victory over the grave through Jesus Christ!

We will continue to experience the sadness of loss with the death of our loved ones, but for those who have faith in Jesus Christ the grave is not the end! The one who is faithful until death will be given the crown of life (Revelation 2:10)! The grave will not be able to hold back the faithful, when their Savior calls them forth to eternity (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)! Thanks be to God who has given us such hope and victory through His Son Jesus Christ! Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” - The same question is still asked of each one that lives today – DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?