Tuesday, July 1, 2014

THE Resurrection and Life

John 11:17-29

So when Jesus came, He found that he [Lazarus] had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 

Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, "The Teacher has come and is calling for you." As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him.

Ah, the stage is still being set regarding Lazarus. Jesus still has a few words to say. He has arrived where Lazarus died. He continues to encourage Martha, who by all accounts truly believes in Him. She knows there will be a good end to her brother. She is just saddened that Jesus had not come sooner to heal him.

In Martha's eyes her brother is dead. But she knows that because Lazarus was a believer like she and Mary, they will be reunited on the last day. They understood to some degree the principle of eternal life. But she had no idea what was yet to happen.

Jesus was setting the stage.

We can have the same assurance as Mary and Martha that we and our loved ones will be reunited on the last day. As Jesus tells Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me shall never die." He asks us all, "Do you believe this?" He so wants us to believe. He has so shown us through His life, death and His own resurrection. So why is it still so difficult a concept?

We can do nothing to be assured of eternal life with God on our own. We must believe and receive Him. There's no other way. He is the only Way, Truth and Life. No one goes to the Father on the last day apart from Him. We must have the faith to believe in Him. Believe Him for everything in our lives. He must be the first and the last in our lives, not just Someone we worship one day a week...or not at all.

When life throws us difficulties, we must trust Him. We must rely on Him, seek Him for our strength and peace. If we don't we are relying on the little strength we have on our own which does not sustain.

When I see or hear people who do not have Christ struggle with life's situations and hear in their voices how difficult it is, how so unprepared they were for these times, I am saddened. We will all go through difficult times despite knowing the Lord, but there will still be an underlying peace. It's sad when others don't have this peace. Martha experienced this...sadness, yet peace.

Martha made sure Jesus knew that she was certain had He been there sooner He would have saved Lazarus. That was very clear. But she also knew though Lazarus had not survived that he, as we hear so often whether rightfully so or not, "he's in a better place." I'm sure Martha was a bit confused at this point why Jesus hadn't gotten there sooner. But there was a reason...

Here's an opposite view for us. Jesus is holding out for some people. Holding out that they might receive Him. That they might believe in Him...as HE has called us to do. Not that head knowledge that so many think will save them but the heart knowledge that sends them to their knees in repentance for their lives without Him. None of us are are good enough on our own to enter heaven. Again, Jesus says, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is no other way. Only through Him will resurrection and eternal life be received.

Romans 10:8-11 - But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

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