Saturday, April 15, 2006

I Am The Resurrection and the Life

Martha, one of Jesus' personal friends and followers, was disappointed. Her brother Lazarus had been terminally ill for days without receiving a visit from Jesus. By the time Jesus showed up, Lazarus was dead.

Jesus told his disciples that his delay was purposeful. Somehow, through all this, the glory of God would be revealed. Sure enough, it was, when Jesus commanded Lazarus to awake from death and come forth from the tomb. To the amazement of all, the one who was dead - lived!

Prior to this display of divine authority, Jesus had this exchange with Martha (see John 11):

"Your brother will rise again," Jesus said.

"I know he will rise again," Martha affirmed. "In the resurrection on the last day."

"I am the resurrection and the life," Jesus told her.

* * *

As we celebrate Easter, most who read this post probably believe - like Martha - in the resurrection. It is one of many theological components that comes with the biblical "package" of truth.

But think about Martha. She believed in the resurrection, yet was still disappointed in Jesus. Things didn't work out as she had hoped; her brother had died. The resurrection was very far off - and she wanted help now.

Jesus reminded her that the resurrection is not an impersonal doctrine that matters little today. Instead, the resurrection is actually quite personal - it's reality is found in Jesus himself. "I am the resurrection and the life," he said.

This means many things for us. Let me point out just two:

First, it means that if Jesus is living within us we already possess eternal life. We should have a sense of it already, like the way we can smell the rain in the air.

Second, it means that if Jesus is living within us we should already see the power of the resurrection at work. With full access to the Lord Jesus Christ, Martha saw her brother called out of the tomb. We too should experience something of Jesus' power, even though its fullness will not be seen or felt until that final day of resurrection. Perhaps we experience Jesus' power through triumph over sin, through joy in the midst of trial, or even through deliverance from disease.

The "resurrection" may seem far away, but Jesus is not. Do you know him as the resurrection and the life?

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