Sunday, March 31, 2013

I Am The Resurrection

John 11:25 (KJV)  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
 
At Easter time, we’re reminded of the Resurrection.  Without it, Christianity loses meaning.  So, we focus on it.  We absorb its importance.  And yet, it’s not what Jesus focused on.

Every dictionary defines resurrection as a rising from death or a return to life.  Alternative definitions are used for thinking, careers and the like.  Which fits very nicely with the verse that started this post and the passage that surrounds it.

As we look at John 11, Jesus’ friend Lazarus has died.  Four days after he’s been buried, Jesus arrives.  Picture the family.  There’s Martha.  The very same Martha we remember being too busy in the kitchen instead of learning from Jesus.  She still hasn’t resurrected her thinking very much.  She runs to Jesus, complaining that Lazarus would still be alive if He had come sooner.  Mary, who sat at Jesus' feet listening and who, in another situation, anointed Jesus.  She now waits quietly in the house, at peace.  But even she said to Jesus that an earlier arrival would have prevented Lazarus’ death.

We know that Jesus delayed arriving, intentionally.  And when  Jesus wept, it wasn’t in mourning for Lazarus, but for the sadness of Mary, Martha, and those around them.  We get the sense that Jesus ended His delaying in order to prevent further sadness.  So, Jesus asked for the stone over Lazarus’ burial cave to be removed.  Sound familiar?

The people, of course, reminded Jesus that Lazarus had already been decaying for four days.  Once again, Jesus prays.  Then, He calls Lazarus out from the grave and Lazarus does come out, still wrapped in his graveclothes.  Lazarus is resurrected.

While common thinking is right that Jesus was demonstrating that He’s never limited by death (or anything else, for that matter), I think there’s more.  There’s no denying the importance of the Resurrection to the validity of our faith.  As I mentioned earlier, Jesus never focused on the Resurrection.  He already knew He was God and could do that.  Coming to earth and going through the things He did were merely steps in the plan, for Him.

So, what was Jesus looking at?  What was His attention on?  Us!!!  His entire time on earth was about our relationship with God.  He was here to give us the chance to resurrect our spiritual life from the death of sin!  Jesus never had any doubts He could overcome death.  But we needed to see that, just like Mary and Martha needed to see Lazarus returning from the dead.

Nothing Jesus did was wasted effort.  If what He was doing wasn’t directly related to restoring us with God, it was demonstrating for us the reality of that reconciliation and the love that made it possible.  When Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life…” in John 11:25, He was speaking truth about both His power and His nature.  The plan of God was already in process, He was the means by which it would happen.

As we get ready for church, today, we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “I am the resurrection!”.  Because Jesus’ eye wasn’t on His resurrection, He was making sure we could have ours!  Doesn’t that excite you, today?

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