The Resurrection and the Life

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

John 11:25, NKJV

The verses quoted in this devotional may be found in John 11, NKJV.

Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, were some of Jesus’ closest friends. He often stayed with them in their home and visited them for dinner and scripture tells us that He loved them deeply.

When Lazarus became very ill and was facing death, Mary and Martha quickly sent for Jesus, imploring Him to come and heal their brother. They knew that He could do it and they were sure He would. He had already healed so many and performed miracles that had previously seemed impossible. He had fed 5,000 men plus women and children with only a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. He had turned water into wine. He had given sight to the blind.

So, why, when His best friends were facing tragedy did Jesus remain where He was for two more days while Lazarus suffered and died? Mary and Martha were perplexed. They were depending on Jesus for a miracle, but it seemed as if He had forgotten them.

We have all been there, haven’t we? At the end of our rope, praying for God to come through for us. Praying for a miracle. Waiting for things to turn around. But instead of things getting better, they just keep getting worse and, like Mary and Martha, we feel like God has forgotten about us.

Perhaps you are facing a situation like this right now. You’ve done everything you know to do. You have prayed and waited and, if you’re anything like me, you have probably even tried to take matters into your own hands a time or two. Your Lazarus is dead. By all human understanding, there is no hope. It is what it is and you may as well accept it and move on.

But when it looks like it is over, that’s when Jesus shows up. That is what happened for Mary and Martha. Lazarus had been dead for 4 days when Jesus came to town. We can safely assume that these women who loved Jesus were hurt, angry, distraught, and perhaps a dozen other feelings.

Their brother was dead. Mary did not want to see anyone, not even Jesus. So, she stayed home.

But Martha did not hide her feelings. She ran out to meet Jesus and said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Martha has been given a bad name, but she sounds like every one of us, doesn’t she?

We ask things like, “Why would you let that happen God? You say You love me, but it doesn’t really feel like it right now.”

Yet, somehow there was a glimmer of hope in her words. She continued, “But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

Jesus confirmed Martha’s faith, regardless of how small it was. He responded by telling her that her brother would rise again.

But, Martha immediately contradicted her own faith.

“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day,” she said.

Jesus wasn’t fazed. He made a declaration about Himself and then gently reminded her of her faith by saying,

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus was asking Martha to confirm her previous statement of faith that “even now” God would give Jesus whatever He asked. It is easy to miss this aspect of their exchange, but it is so important.

So many times, throughout the gospels, Jesus told people that their faith had healed them and I believe that Martha’s faith was crucial to the resurrection of Lazarus.

When they arrived at the tomb and Jesus ordered the stone to be removed, Martha argued with Him because she was worried about the stench from the body. Again, Jesus gently reminded her of her faith.

“Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?”

So, they did as Jesus said. Despite the stench of death that had taken Lazarus’ life and overwhelmed their own lives, they removed the stone. Jesus prayed, gave God glory, and commanded Lazarus to come forth from his grave.

And he did!

This is what Jesus promises to all of us. When we are waiting for His resurrection power, we must remain hopeful, and we must believe that He will do what He has promised. When all human efforts have failed. When people have let us down. When our situation seems not just hopeless, but dead, that is when Jesus steps in.

The things that you are going through are hard. They don’t make sense. You don’t understand, but He does and He has a plan.

When the messengers came to tell Jesus of Lazarus’ illness, Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Nothing that God allows you to go through is meant to kill you. It is all for His glory. It is all to teach you to fully trust Him. To build your character and help you to grow closer to Him. To teach you whatever it is that He needs to teach you at that moment and perhaps to teach those around you something as well.

In your situation, in your life, in your pain and heartbreak, Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and He will come through for you. Just believe.

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I am a writer, a mom, a follower of Christ, and an INFJ. I believe in freedom in Christ and that God's love, grace, and faithfulness are more than sufficient for anything we go through. C.S. Lewis said it best when he wrote, "The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation."

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