Posted by: Jim Black | April 7, 2009

“I am the Resurrection and the Life”

“Lord, if only you had been here… my brother would not have died.” Martha and her sister, Mary, had been through a tough week. Their brother, Lazarus, had been seriously ill. No doubt they had rushed to his side as soon as they had heard. No doubt they had done all that they could to care for him. But it hadn’t been enough. After several days of sickness, he had died. It had been so sudden, they hardly had time to process it all. In the midst of it, they had sent word for their friend, Jesus, to come quickly… but he had not come. I am sure that they had prayed… but God had not acted to bring healing. I am sure that they had high hopes… but those hopes had been dashed. Now, in the aftermath of if all, Mary and Martha were alone in their mourning… when Jesus finally arrived. You can almost hear the despair, the hopelessness and maybe even a bit of anger in the words of Martha. “Jesus, where have you been? If only you had been here? You could have done something.”

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever wondered why God did not answer a prayer in the way that you would have liked? Have you ever cried out to God in desperation, “Lord, where are you? Why me? If only you had been here?” I’ve watched families like Martha’s walk through some pretty tough times. I’ve seen them try to make sense out of senseless tragedies. I’ve witnessed them face difficult diagnoses. I’ve even asked some of those questions, myself. Well, I’ve got to admit that I don’t have all the answers. I don’t understand fully why God does what he does sometimes. Why allow the innocent to suffer? Why allow a family to lose a loved one? Why allow someone to get sick? I don’t have all the answers…. But Jesus did. In fact, he IS the answer. In this heart-warming and gut-wrenching story from John’s gospel, Jesus not only provided Martha with comforting words to answer her question… he made the bold declaration that he IS the answer, HIMSELF. He said, “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”

If those words don’t bring a chill down your spine, go back and read that story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John chapter 11 again. “I AM the resurrection and the life!” Wow. This Sunday is Easter Sunday. It is the day that Christians around the globe will celebrate the day, almost 2,000 years ago, when Jesus, himself, took on the foe of death and won the victory! Having been crucified on Friday, Jesus rose from the grave on the following Sunday and forever changed the course of human history. No longer would death be an enemy. No longer would the grave be the end. No longer would the devil hold us in his clutches! Death had been defeated. The grave had been overcome and the tomb was found empty! Jesus’ words to Martha had surely come true, Jesus IS the resurrection! Not only did he rise from the grave himself… but his resurrection paved the way for our own resurrection when this life is over for us. What an incredible hope… a hope that we will celebrate this Lord’s day, as we do every Sunday, in our assembly together and we will reflect on these “vintage” words of Jesus…. “I am the Resurrection and the life.” What message do these words have for us today? Let me encourage you to invite a friend to join us in worship this Sunday as we continue our focus on Jesus and some of his great “one-liners.” And let us rejoice in the good news that Jesus IS the resurrection and the life!

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