Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry
“Jesus said, ‘I am resurrection and the life, … And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.’” (John 11:25-26a) This is a declaration Jesus made to Martha, sister of Lazarus, in response to her having confronted Him for his delay after being told her brother, Lazarus, was near death.
The setting is Bethany, just a couple miles from Jerusalem. The timing was just days before the Feast of the Passover as Jesus was making his way toward Jerusalem for the completion of His earthly mission, and He fully understood all that awaited Him there. The scriptures do not provide the exact time between the raising of Lazarus and the crucifixion of Jesus but best estimates are that it was only about two weeks. John 11:54 tells us that once the Chief Priest and Pharisees had heard about the raising of Lazarus that they began plotting in earnest for the death of both, Jesus and Lazarus; therefore, Jesus retreated to Ephraim, a city about fourteen miles, or a good days journey, north of Jerusalem. Then, according to John 12:1, Jesus returned to Bethany and to the home of Lazarus the night before he rode very publicly, and triumphantly, into Jerusalem being hailed as King of the Jews.
Today, my thoughts are drawn to the quotation from John 11:25, “I am resurrection and the life, says the Lord.” The word resurrection means raising from the dead. That is, restored to life. But the fact that Jesus used both resurrection and life in the same sentence indicates that He was considering them as separate entities. Indeed, as we consider the context and content of the story - all that Jesus has taught us - as we relate these words to our faith in Jesus, we begin to understand that He is speaking not only of those who have died and been resurrected to eternal life in heaven, but also to those who are living and are sustained in life through our relationship with Him.
The existence of human life is usually defined as that possessing a beating heart. In more recent times it has also included a functioning brain, the measure of brain waves. But we are more than flesh and blood; we are body, soul, and spirit. These three working together make up life. Therefore, true life exists only when all three are working in unison to add vision and purpose to our existence.
For sure, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection opened the way. He made it possible for us, weak and imperfect as we are, to ascend into heaven and have eternal life. He also desires that we live life in its fullness, here and now, on this earth. And this requires that we be in communion with Him. “I am resurrection and I am life says the Lord.” He promises us life even after our earthly life has ended, but His desire is for us to live the fullness of life; the life that only He can provide, every day we spend on earth.
Jesus said to Martha, "Did I not say to you that if you believe you would see the glory of God?" Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” Lazarus who had been bound hand and foot in graveclothes came forth and Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:40-41,44) Jesus says the same to all that bind us, “Loose him and let him go.”
Jesus has stated that He “has come to bring life and life more abundantly.” (John 10:10) This means He wants you to live a resurrected life now, here, in this place, in the place He has called you, without delay.
Enjoy your Easter and be blessed.