I Am the Resurrection and the Life {John 11}

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By Becky Bramlett Austin

The story of Lazarus reveals such a tender portrayal of Jesus.  It shows us a Jesus who connects with us in our struggles, hardships, and grief.  It also reveals that even our difficult experiences serve a divine purpose meant to glorify God.   “But when Jesus heard it (that Lazarus was ill) he said“This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." (V4) It's not an easy thing to accept when illness afflicts or tragedy strikes but even our difficult times should be embraced with a desire to see God glorified.  This is not a perfect world and we are not immune to suffering just because we are God's children but how we react to our suffering is always an opportunity for others to see God as the source of our strength.

The following 2 verses seem strange and contradictory:
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” (V5-6) If someone came to you and told you that a loved one were very ill, wouldn't your first reaction be to drop everything and immediately go to them? Clearly, Jesus had reasons for delaying. One of his objectives was to strengthen the belief of his disciples. “Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”” (V14-15) We have read before of 2 other occasions when Jesus raised from the dead but these bodies were raised soon after death before decay set in.  Lazarus was in the sealed tomb 4 days. This raising of the dead could not be shrugged off as chance or other explanation.  This would be a true conquest over the destructive forces of death.  

Jesus loved Mary and Martha and he wanted to increase their belief too.  Both of them already believed in him as a healer for they both told him that Lazarus would not have died if he had been there to heal him.  Jesus wanted them to know Him in an even grander capacity.  He didn't want to just be their healer, but to be their  resurrection and life. “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?””(v25-26)
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Even though Jesus knew that he would raise Lazarus back to life, he was still deeply affected by the sorrow and sadness of those who mourned.  In fact, he also wept.  God is not insensitive and unconcerned about our sorrows and concerns.  In fact, in Rev 4 we are told that when Jesus returns that " He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  

Could you imagine being at the entrance of that tomb expecting only death's foul stench to overwhelm you? Martha was certainly concerned.   “Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?"" (V40).  How powerful our belief can be.  When we trust In God- trust His timing, trust his love and concern for us, trust his sovereign control over all circumstances, and trust that he can negate the destructive decay of death and sin, then we get to see....His power, His glory, His compassion, His mercy, and grace. 

Could you imagine Jesus calling " Lazarus come forth".   How amazing and joyous it must have been to see a dead man walk out of that tomb into the daylight.  Spiritually, we are all sealed in a tomb of death and Jesus calls our name too.  He died to free us from the power of death and He calls us out of that dark tomb into the light of eternal life. Have you heard that call from Jesus?  Have you chosen new life?  Do you know Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life?

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