The gospel of John has lots of little nuances that make it a rather special book. It seems to be more concerned with the last week of Jesus’ life than it is with any other part as the Triumphant Entry is found in chapter 12; half way through the book. You have only seven miracles record in John. There are zero parables. This is rather remarkable when you consider that Matthew, Mark and Luke seem to show Jesus using parables a great deal more than any other teaching method. And finally, you have the I am statement littered throughout John. I am the door. I am the good shepherd. I AM. I am the way the truth and the life. But, of all the I am statements made by Jesus it is “I am the resurrection” that often gets overlooked. It gets over looked not because it isn’t important, but because of the chapter it is found in; John 11. It is verse 35 that usually gets most of the attention… “Jesus wept.” And the context is generally well known, the death, burial and resurrection of Lazarus. And yet, despite the powerful miracle “I am the resurrection” gets lost when it is THE point of the miracle; to prove that Jesus is indeed the resurrection. As Easter is quickly approaching, people are going to be thinking about the resurrection of Christ. As your friend and neighbors turns their attention to that fateful day, I want you to notice a couple of powerful points about this claim made by Jesus. The resurrection is about the glory of God. As already revealed, the context of this remarkable “I am” statement by Jesus is the death, burial and resurrection of Lazarus. The story begins by informing us that Lazarus was sick. It apparently was known to be a bad situation because Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters sent word to Jesus informing him of the situation. At first glance it appears that Jesus is saying that the situation is not as bleak as was reported to him. “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 (John 11:4).” Jesus then delayed two days. It appears that he didn’t talk much to his apostles about the situation because they were shocked to hear he wanted to go to Judea. But, Jesus wasn’t saying this illness was not anything to worry about. What he was saying is that God was going to be glorified as a result of what happens to Lazarus. Yes, our own resurrection will bring life back into our dead bodies. However, the point of the resurrection is that God will be gloried. Even our deaths can be used to bring about the glory of God. In a world that is enamored with death, it is mind blowing to me that we miss the point of it. We fail to realize that death is not something that should be feared. It is merely a process we must all go through to ultimately bring about the magnificence of God. The resurrection is about bringing life to dead tissue. The scriptures record three instances when Jesus raised someone from the dead. He raised Jairus’ daughter who had just died. He raised a widow from Nain’s son who had died earlier that day. (We know this based upon burial customs). Lazarus on the other hand had been dead for three days. The fact the tomb had been shut is telling. In their culture they would go into the tomb for three days to mourn. This was also done to make sure the person was actually dead. After 4 days the rotting process is noticeable. So, the stone is rolled into place and the family no longer goes in to mourn. This is why Martha cried out “by this time he stinks (John 11:39).” There is no doubt Lazarus was dead and there was no doubt that Lazarus lived again. When Jesus spoke to Martha about the resurrection earlier it is evident that she understood that the resurrection meant life. “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection on the last day (John 11:24).” I don’t understand all the nuances of this resurrection. But, what I do know is that our resurrection bodies on that last day will not be corruptible. Disease, ravaged bodies will be made whole again. The resurrection is about bringing life to the spiritually dead. Lazarus was as dead as a person can get. There was zero life left in him. Hope had long left. For Mary and Martha, when they closed the door of the open tomb, their hope for receiving back their brother was gone. Those lost in sin can be described in the same manner. Some have gotten so lost in sin that there appears no way back. I am certain Judas felt that way. It is too bad that he failed to learn this lesson as he saw Lazarus raised from the dead. There is not a sin too big for Jesus to not forgive. There is not a life too lost that cannot be found. There is not a person too spiritually dead that God cannot bring life into again. Jesus is the resurrection. That is not debatable. What is, is whether or not you will believe.
Grinnell church of Christ
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