Today is when the truthfulness of all of Christianity is celebrated – the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Christianity pivots on this truth. It’s not the first time that resurrection was intended to show who Jesus is. As a matter of fact, the subject of resurrection was not new to Jesus.
Lazarus is Sick
Remember Lazarus? Jesus had been told Lazarus was sick, so he waited. John writes (see John 11) that Jesus heard that Lazarus was ill… possibly dying, and Jesus didn’t go to him. The fact that Jesus waits must have seemed very odd and perhaps even cruel. Some believed Jesus waited for fear of the Jews in Jerusalem since the location of Lazarus’ home was approximately two miles away from Jerusalem. Therefore, some thought Jesus didn’t go out of fear of being harmed. They would soon find out there was another reason for Jesus’ delay.
Lazarus is Dead
When Jesus finally arrives, Lazarus has been dead for four days. Four days is significant due to the day’s popular Jewish teaching that the soul would hover over the body for three days before departing. In waiting four days, Jesus removes any doubt that Lazarus is dead. It seemed like the end of Lazarus to everyone … except Jesus. Upon arriving on the scene, Jesus tells Martha – the sister of Lazarus, that her brother would live again. Martha, knowing her Old Testament, responds that she knows he will on the last day (John 11:24), but Jesus says something that is shocking and turns what seems to be an end into a new beginning.
I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die(John 11:25)
What a statement! Who does He think He is? Waiting might have been cruel, but giving false hope is more than cruel; it is a form of emotional torture! Jesus then moves in front of the entrance of the tomb in which Lazarus had been buried. All eyes are on Jesus, and then it happens! Jesus yells out: “Lazarus, come out.” It is within this sliver of time all of Jesus’ identity hangs in the balance. If Lazarus doesn’t come out, then Jesus is a fake. If Lazarus does rise, they are all standing in the presence of a man who has power over death! What seemed to be Lazarus’ end is, in reality, a new beginning. What seemed to be Lazarus’ end is, in reality, a new beginning. Within moments Lazarus waddles to the entrance of the tomb still wrapped in the graveclothes! Jesus commands the people to unwrap Lazarus and let him go free! Today, millions of people today are celebrating the resurrection power of Jesus! The ability to not just raise Lazarus, but the power to raise Himself from the grave and to offer anyone who would trust in Him the same freedom from death that Lazarus experienced and even more – to be with Jesus forever in heaven!
Will You Trust Jesus?
Jesus can offer this same hope to you. How? A man who can foretell His death and resurrection and then fulfill it has the authority to give this assurance to you as well. What causes death in the first place? The curse of sin is death. God instituted death to show humanity that it is not God but needs God. When Adam and Eve sought to become gods themselves (see Genesis 3). God warned them both that the penalty for disobeying Him would be death. Therefore, everyone is born into the condition of being a sinner, unable to not sin since we have Adam and Eve’s sinful nature. Given our state, we desperately need someone to pay for our sin, to pay our penalty. Have you trusted in Jesus to bear your sins? To take on Himself the judgment of God for your sin? The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is a blazing banner of God’s acceptance of Jesus and an offer to you as well.
Jesus has a way of making what seems to be the end just the beginning. When I got to the end of myself and trusted in Jesus alone to pay for my sins, I found a new beginning. Simply put, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. This does not mean I am perfect (like Christ), but I would like to be out of appreciation for what He has done for me. When I fall short of this ideal, the grace of God views my imperfections through the obedience of Jesus. At those times, I, again, find what should be an end is just another beginning.
I urge you to reject thinking you can be good enough or earn God’s acceptance. Jesus died in your place and offers you forgiveness for your sins if you repent of your sin and place your trust in Him.