By: Tim Sader
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”
Last Thursday I received the news that a dear friend of mine lost her mother who was battling ALS for several years. It often progresses fast only five to ten years after the onset of symptoms. On the way to the funeral Friday I kept hearing in my spirit, I am the resurrection and the life he who believes in me though they die yet shall they live. The spirit was truly moving on me and I didn’t know what was going to happen during her memorial. For a brief moment I remembered Lazarus but then felt at peace that it was her time to go. To my surprise the main message in the service was about the promises of a resurrection to those who believe in Him. They remembered her smile, her energy and her faith in her Lord and savior Jesus Christ. She fought hard to not become bitter and blame God for her difficult situation and carried with her peace to the grave because of the hope for the resurrection. She made the last request for her children and loved ones to remember God and to trust in Him even when death is at the door because then heaven is just a blink away.
Today’s scripture is what Jesus says to Martha the sister of Lazarus after he had been dead for four days. Without Christ and the power of God Lazarus was dead and hanging out with the saints. Being a faithful follower of Christ he was to be risen in the resurrection on the last day. To display the power of resurrection Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead on that day (John 11:21-26). A person being raised from the dead today isn’t impossible but whether risen here or in eternity when we believe in Christ we are saved and death has no power over us. God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and every believer since then but if He is not the God of the dead these men are still living which proves the power of resurrection for all who believe (Matthew 22:31-32). We understand that Christ made Himself our sacrifice by taking all sin on Him and overcoming death so we can live forever. In Mark is the story of Christ’s resurrection. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome were going to visit the tomb of Christ to anoint His body with spices. When they got there the stone was rolled away and a man dressed in white was sitting in the tomb and he spoke to them. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. (Mark 16:6-7)'” This news filled them with joy because Jesus was raised from the dead just as he told them he would and this forever changed us all. His power of resurrection was so strong many holy people were raised with Him and spoke to people in the city (Matthew 27:52-53). These people were just people like you and me who trusted in God and lived holy lives and because of this they were risen with Christ as we will be in the resurrection.
Christ was just a man in the flesh, a long lost relative of David but in the Spirit he was declared with power to be the Son of God (Romans 1:3-4). This was proven by his resurrection and he is now our Lord and we will be risen with him in the final resurrection. The early apostles spoke what they witnessed first hand because they knew Christ had been raised from the dead after three days and that death and decay never could keep him bound (Acts 2:31). By knowing and testifying to the resurrection they presented it with power and the grace of God was upon them (Acts 4:33). By believing we testify of His resurrection and by believing we are saved by the grace upon us. By trusting in Christ and the power of His resurrection we are sharing in His sufferings and being like him in death knowing we will rise again from that death (Philippians 3:10-11). In following Christ’s example of suffering we will attain resurrection from the dead because we have His Spirit inside of us. The patriarchs were put through many trials and suffered greatly because of their beliefs. They had the faith to be strong because they knew that suffering for what they believed brought them a better resurrection (Hebrews 11:32-35). Paul stands in agreement with all the Laws that came down from the Prophets of old and he also holds on to that hope they had in their suffering for the coming resurrection (Acts 24:14-15). Notice that the resurrection is not only for the righteous but also the wicked, it is for everyone but what happens on that day comes down to choosing Christ or continuing in our sin. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is the Lord. When Christ died He united us believers so when we die we can be with the Lord. If we are united in death how much more will we be united in resurrection and in eternity forever with the Lord (Romans 6:5).
I don’t usually do this but I recommend reading (1 Corinthians 15) the entire chapter to gain much insight on resurrection. If resurrection is preached and we admit to believe in the gospel then how can we not believe in the coming resurrection? If we do not believe in resurrection we cannot believe Christ died for us because without being raised there can be no redemption, we worship a dead man and our belief is useless (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).” People we do not serve a dead God because in Christ we all will be made alive, death cannot keep us down. Later we learn there is a new body in resurrection, one that will not perish but will remain forever. All that we are is transformed into all that God wants us to be (1 Corinthians 15:35-53). What mattered in this flesh and blood will matter no more when we are made perfect in resurrection. We have our victory in Jesus Christ our Lord when we believe in his power death cannot harm us in anyway (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). It has no sting because we have a hope in the Lord and have been given the victory over sin and death.