Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

Jesus is the Resurrection and Life

Jesus was close to the family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. When the sisters sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was ill, Jesus said, “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 deliberately stayed away for a couple more days, knowing that He would be confronted with Lazarus’ death when He arrived. Jesus’ intent was clearly stated: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples thought He was talking about literal sleep, but Jesus clarified: “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him” (vv 14-15).

Notice two primary purposes in these verses for Jesus’ intent to raise up Lazarus: 1) for the glory of God and the Son, and 2) so that people may believe. This coincides with the purpose of the Gospel of John overall. The signs are recorded “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). Jesus came to give life, and what better example of His ability to do this than to raise a man who had died?

By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Martha met Jesus and affirmed that had He been there, He could have prevented the death. Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again,” to which she replied that she knew that would happen “at the last day.” Jesus then made the amazing claim: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (vv 25-26)

Jesus wept, then He went to the tomb and told them to take away the stone. There was concern about odor since Lazarus had been dead four days, to which Jesus responded, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” He then prayed to the Father, stating that He said what He did for the sake of the people, “that they may believe that you sent me.” He commanded that Lazarus come out of the tomb and told them to unbind him. Lazarus lived! Some believed while others reported it to the Pharisees and wondered what to do next. The plot to put Jesus to death thickened as they feared they would lose power because of Him.

John began his gospel account by affirming of Jesus the Creator, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Then John includes miracles that demonstrate this claim. Jesus claims to be the light of the world, then heals a blind man (ch. 9). He claims to be the resurrection and life, then raises a dead man. The result was, as stated, glory to God and cause to believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that we may have life.

Death came into this world because of the rebellion of sin. When we reject the God of all life, all that is left is death. Because sin is a rejection of God, the wage it pays is death (Rom 6:23). But God did not leave it at that. By His grace, He set in motion the plan that would defeat death and bring new life to those who believe and trust Him.

To accomplish this plan, death was necessary, but it would take more than death. If death is to be defeated, it takes resurrection. And while Jesus showed He can defeat death through this miracle of raising Lazarus, He would Himself taste death and defeat it thoroughly through His own resurrection. Peter’s sermon on Pentecost emphasized this point:

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:22-24).

The message of the gospel centers around Jesus being the resurrection and life. Sin brings the sting of death, but because Jesus defeated death, we can say with Paul, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57). Because of this, we have a living hope and the assurance that what we do for Him is always worthwhile (1 Cor 15:58; 1 Pet 1:3). Then we, too, will one day take part in the resurrection of life (John 5:28-29).