The resurrection of Lazarus was a pivotal moment in the work that the Lord did while He was on the earth. In this one moment and action He showed mankind that He truly did have the power over life and death.
The teachings that He gave while carrying out this work were equally important. He not only did the miraculous, but also taught those around Him and by extension us too, the pathway to receiving and entering the resurrection.
Let’s look at what Jesus said and did.
Jesus was deeply moved in the spirit as he watched the goings on of the people around him. He knew what He was going to do and had spoken to the people about it and that they would see the glory of the Lord revealed. However some still doubted.
39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.”
40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
When Jesus asked for the stone across the entrance of the tomb to be removed, Martha doubted. Her immediate reaction was concern for the body would have started to decompose and there would be a smell.
Now Jesus had already spoken to Martha telling her that Lazarus would arise again. Back in verses 23-27 of this chapter we see her conversation with Jesus.
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”
In verse 23 Jesus told her plainly that Lazarus would arise, but she thought Jesus meant he would rise again in the final resurrection. But Jesus went on telling her that He is the resurrection and the life and that He had the power over death and life. When He asked her whether she believed this she replied saying that she did.
And yet when it came to the crunch, she doubted. She was more concerned about there being a smell from the decaying body than seeing the glory of God performed and following the instructions of the Lord. At the critical time she lacked faith. Fortunately the Lord did not hold that against her.
Faith is the Key
Faith was the key to the resurrection then and it is the key now. Jesus told all of his disciples to believe in Him for He is the resurrection and the life. As He said to Martha above in verse 25, 26 and 40, it is those who believe and have faith in Him that shall be saved and shall rise again.
In the case of Lazarus Jesus was going to be a little more forthcoming by raising Him from the dead then and there. This was to prove beyond a question of a doubt that He had the power given to Him by God to be the resurrection and the life.
So too, if we are to enter the resurrection we must believe also. We must believe that Jesus is the resurrection and that our life is in Him. Just as He instructed his disciples then, we too must hold fast the truth of the resurrection in our hearts and minds for it is in the resurrection of Jesus that we will be saved.
What to Believe?
When we are baptised in the name of Jesus it is not just some kind of initiation or a ritual to be observed if we so choose. Baptism is a critical and necessary part of the faith of Christianity. Consider this for a moment.
- Jesus was baptised and said through it it is necessary to fulfil all righteousness. (Matthew 3:15)
- When Jesus gave the Great Commission he instructed the disciples to go and make disciples and to baptise them. (Matthew 28:19)
- When the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit the first time, Peter COMMANDED that they be baptised in water. (Acts 10:48)
- When Paul found the group of disciples at Ephesus who had been baptised into the teachings of John the Baptist, he instructed them to be baptised in the name of Jesus. (Acts 19:1-5)
Now why was baptism so important? First we must understand the symbolism of baptism in water for in it we die and are buried with Jesus as we go down into the water, then we are resurrected with Jesus as we are raised from the water.
Baptism is our symbolic death with Jesus and the means by which we take on His death and His resurrection for ourselves through faith. Why is this important?
It is important because it is through death that we are set free from sin. Sin is the breaking of the law (1 John 3:4) but the law is only binding on a person while they are alive. (Romans 7:1) But if we die an actual death it is too late. So Jesus died as a proxy for us and we take on His death through faith and believing we have entered death by being baptised into His death and resurrection.
And not only death, we enter His resurrection to start a new life as a new creation in Jesus Christ.
This is why resurrection is important for in His resurrection we get a new start. Free from sin, free from law and looking to Jesus as the saviour and perfecter of our faith.
(Picture sourced from ChristiansUnite.com)
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