In the previous two posts I have been looking at the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Lazarus. When Jesus came to the place where he had taken ill and died, he spoke to Martha and Mary, who were sisters of Lazarus. In this discussion Jesus makes one of the most important points and messages of the teachings of the gospel.
Comfort for those in fear of death
When Jesus meets the sisters they come to him saying that. If He had been there Lazarus would not have died. To the sisters death was a finality, and this is the way many people think.
However Martha and Mary were aware of the gospel for they had heard the words and teachings of Jesus. Martha knows He is the Son of God and that God will do for Him whatever He asks of God. So we see her almost pleading for the sake of her brother Lazarus who has now died when she says,
21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
Jesus comforts her with these words saying, “Your brother will rise again.” (Verse 23).
Martha understands there is a resurrection so she replies, “Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” (Verse 24). But then Jesus gives her this crucial and most important teaching when He says,
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus is The Life
Jesus said that He is the resurrection and the life. There is no life apart from Jesus, either here or in the next life. Jesus holds the keys to life and death and whoever wishes to have life will have it only by Him and through Him.
He is also the first to be resurrected unto eternal life for death could not hold him. He was the Author and Giver of life from the very beginning as Peter testified in Acts 3:14-16.
14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.
16 And his name-by faith in his name-has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
Life is the offer that we have in Jesus Christ. Not life as we know it here and now, but life eternal without sickness, disease or pain and without any form of evil to cause us suffering and grief.
The life that we live now is but a shadow of what is to come, but we have been given the barest glimpse of what life could be like so that we would desire it and seek more of it. Abundant life is what Jesus has promised, and by that I take it to mean not just years of life, but fullness of life. A life that is rich with relationships, experiences, friends and access to the Creator of all things to guide and teach us.
What inexpressible joy it will be when that day comes and we stand with him on the brink of eternity!
Jesus is the Resurrection
Jesus told Martha that He is the resurrection. We come to life because He came to live, die and be raised on our behalf. He is the first to be resurrected to eternal life, the first fruits of the plan of God for man and the way that we come to God is through Him.
Resurrection is the one thing that causes Christianity to stand apart from every other religion and form of worship in he world today. Only Christianity promises the hope of resurrection and freedom from the bondage of death that has a stranglehold over all of mankind because of sin.
All mankind suffer death and the fear of death. Only Christianity has an answer to overcome both the fear of death and death itself. That answer is in Jesus Christ and the fact that He was raised from the dead never to die again.
We can take on His death and resurrection as our own by faith in Jesus Christ and can come to the resurrection and the life through Him. There is a process involved in this and it is part of the whole and ongoing process of learning to walk as a Christian. In short, the process is:
- Receiving the Holy Spirit,
- Walking in the Spirit to overcome the flesh,
- Learning to walk in love as Christ loved us
It's easy to say but takes many years to learn and apply to your life. And you need to know specifically what each of these elements contain lest you be caught up in beliefs that are not part of the truth of Christianity. And that is apart from the constant battle we have with opposition from the devil and those of his people who put stumbling blocks in our way.
But that is the way to life. The narrow way that is hard as Jesus says elsewhere. But the reward of this path is eternity and life with Him. It is not too much of a concern to bear as He promised to help those who seek him out. Go to Him in prayer and look for those who can teach you about the freedom that is in Jesus Christ. Seek the truth and the ways of The Lord and as the old saying says, “when the student is ready, the teacher will be there.” This is actually a paraphrase of what The Lord himself said, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26)
The Lord goes first and directs his servants to where He wants them to be. So seek Him and he will send His servants to your aid as He teaches and guides you for ultimately it is His work and we all are just servants.