“I Am the Resurrection and the Life.”
What a remarkable statement! Jesus’ words, the context in which He said them, and the things He did show that He is God.
The 11th chapter of John has some tremendous faith lessons to share with you as we celebrate this Easter season. (It might help if you first read John 11:1-45).
Jesus’ special friends, Mary and Martha, send an urgent plea for Jesus to come. Their brother, also very special to Christ, is very sick. Their request is very much like a prayer we might have. Jesus explains to His disciples that this sickness is to reveal God’s glory. Surprisingly, because He loves them, He delays in responding! (See verses 5 and 6)
Faith lesson #1: Sometimes God’s answer to our prayers is silence, and we must wait even when the situation is urgent.
Finally Jesus does go to Bethany, but only after Lazarus has died. From Mary and Martha’s viewpoint the worst has happened. Jesus tells his disciples that it was good for their sakes that He waited.
Faith lesson #2: Sometimes God allows us to go through difficult circumstances so that He might reveal something of Himself to others.
When Jesus arrives in Bethany, Martha rushes out to greet Him. She expresses faith in Christ but disappointment that He was not there to heal Lazarus. What she doesn’t understand is that Christ did not have to be physically present to heal her brother.
Faith lesson #3: God may choose to answer our prayers in ways we are not able to comprehend.
Jesus pauses in His mission to help Martha understand a truth she did not know before. She understood that there would be a resurrection in the last days. Jesus proclaims that He is the Resurrection and the Life. The resurrection is not just an event that happened to Christ that first Easter Sunday or will happen to us in the future. Jesus himself is the very source of life and has the power over death.
Faith lesson #4: Sometimes in the midst of responding to our time of trial or need, Christ has something important to teach us.
Faith lesson #5: Many times the answer to our prayers is not something God can do for us, but He Himself is the answer.
After also speaking to Mary, Jesus approached the tomb where Lazarus was buried. Verses 33 and 35 indicate Jesus was deeply moved and even wept. Why did Jesus weep? Surely He felt the sorrow of his close friends. However, Jesus also knew that He was about to raise Lazarus, which would be a source of great joy to all the mourners gathered. I believe He wept because Jesus felt the terrible pain that death causes, a pain that God had never intended to be part of his original creation.
Faith lesson #6: Christ knows and shares the pain that we feel.
Jesus asks that the stone at the entrance of the tomb be removed. Martha protests; Lazarus has been dead four days. Jesus asks Martha to believe.
Faith lesson #7: Sometimes God asks us to remove an obstacle, before He performs His miracle. He asks us to have faith in what He will do.
As you know the “rest of the story,” Jesus prayed and asked Lazarus to rise and come out of the tomb and Lazarus did! What an amazing account, showing us how God is at work teaching about Himself as He responds to needs. Sus and I hope that during this Easter season you will come to know in a fresh way that He is the “Resurrection and the Life”.