Coming to Life

KEY VERSE: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” —John 11:25

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 11:1-4, 21-44

WHEN LAZARUS BECAME ill, his sisters, Martha and Mary, sent a message to Jesus, saying, “Lord, behold he whom thou lovest is sick.” Jesus immediately reacted to this request from his very dear friends by saying to his disciples, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”—John 11:3,4

However, it was several days later before Jesus proposed to his disciples that he and they go to visit Lazarus. He told them, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.” They did not understand this, since if he were sleeping it was a good sign. So Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” Speaking of this, he said to his disciples, “I am glad for your sakes that I was not there.” (vss. 14,15) What a strange statement to come from the Master, for his friend Lazarus had died and was buried. Surely our Lord could not be lacking in sympathy for those who were bereaved in the loss of their loved one.

This incident was indeed one of the “all things that work together for good to those who love God.” (Rom. 8:28) Sometimes the Lord permits sorrows and tears to come upon us to teach us important lessons we could not otherwise understand as well. We must, therefore, learn to trust the Lord even where we cannot trace him.

Two days later, Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet him, but Mary sat still in the house. “Then said Martha unto Jesus, If thou hadst been here, my brother had not have died. But I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She said unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”—John 11:20-27

Jesus, in saying, “I am the resurrection and the life,” gave assurance to Martha—and to us through the record of his words in the Gospels—that through him would come the resurrection power by which all the dead would be awakened in God’s due time. It was by his death that he secured the right to resurrect all mankind from the dominion of death by ransoming mankind from God’s just condemnation levied against father Adam at the time of his fall in the Garden of Eden.

Paul spoke of the ransoming power of Christ in his dissertation regarding the resurrection. He said, “Since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus Christ] came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”—I Cor. 15:21,22

As he stood among the many mourners gathered before the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus lifted his eyes to heaven, praying to his Heavenly Father that by seeing this miracle they might believe that he was God’s son. Then he cried out: “Lazarus, come forth.” (John 11:43) And Lazarus came forth, still bound in grave clothes. Here was a demonstration of the mighty power of the Lord, to testify in advance how eventually he will exercise his resurrection power upon the whole world. Jesus himself said, “Marvel not at this: the hour is coming in which all that are in their graves will hear his voice and shall come forth.”—John 5:28

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