Risen Indeed - John 11:25-26 NIV
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Every Resurrection Day celebration is special, but this one - I think - is even more special as we also celebrate the 52 days leading up to today. The March of Prayer is a miracle. How else can we describe this joining together of so many churches, so many people loving one another, joining together to worship one Lord with one Spirit as one body? It is - I think - a glimpse of what the resurrection life will look like for us. Have you considered that in Heaven there will be no churches, no denominations, no division of beliefs. The church age will be no more. In the eternal scheme of things this 2,000 year long church age will seem like a blink of an eye. In this blink of an eye we look forward to our resurrection to come. And so on this Resurrection Day, the final day of the March of Prayer, I would like to consider our forward march to our own future resurrection.
"I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26 NIV
There are many different verses in the Bible that tell us about the resurrection. But this one is especially helpful to us. (1) It is from Jesus. (2) It is spoken before his own resurrection. (3) It is said to Martha grieving over the death of her brother, Lazarus. (4) It is post-death, pre-resurrection. (5) It ends with the question we ask ourselves daily.
Four Big Conclusions From Two Little Verses:
#1 - Jesus is not just ___________ . He is also the ________________ .
"I am the resurrection and the life..."
We celebrate today as Resurrection Day - the day Jesus rose from the dead. The day He broke the back of death. The day He breathed again after the breath of life had been extinguished for 3 days. Death defeated. Life wins! It is a day to celebrate like no other!
But that's not the best news! We've buried the lead!
Jesus IS the resurrected LIFE. It was true for Martha BEFORE his own resurrection. Do you see it? He doesn't say, "I will be ..." He says, "I am!" If this was true for Martha before Jesus' resurrection, how much more is this true for us today after Jesus' resurrection. Jesus is the resurrection and the life yesterday, today and forever!
And so this is also true for us today, now, while we yet live, before our death and before our resurrection. TODAY we live the resurrected life. Not just in the future. Jesus IS our resurrection and our life now, today!
So here is my question for you this morning. Are you living life to its fullest resurrection celebration? Are you living to the fullest, to it's most abudant as Jesus said just one chapter before in John 10? Or are you waiting for some future resurrection event? You don't have to wait!
#2 - These bodies we inhabit are _______________ and they must _________ .
"...The one who believes in me will live, even though they die..."
So this is the reason for death. The extinguishing and the extinction of corruption. Our very bodies carry the seed of Adam's sin and thus is a cancer upon each person of the human race. In this death is a mercy.
Notice in this verse Jesus is very careful of his time tenses...
"Who believes in me..." Present participle tense. The one who believes in me and keeps on believing. Every day a new day to believe and keep on believing!
"...will live..." Future indicative middle tense. So future tense = it will happen. Indicative = just a statement of fact. It is what it is (It will be what it will be.) Middle tense is really different here to be so mixed with the others. Middle tense is when something happens to me rather than me doing it myself. I will be caused to live. Just the facts, Ma'am!
"... Even though..." This is subjunctive mood (rather than indicative) meaning it could happen, it might happen, should it happen that. Why? Because there's always the possibility that Jesus could come before. Imagine this now. This is Jesus speaking to Martha. And this is all surrounding the very real death of Lazarus. But even in this moment Jesus is most precise with His language.
"...they die..." It is in aorist tense. Aorist in Greek is "it happens and it's done." Opposite of participle that keeps on going and going. So believing and keep on believing, full life alive is future indicative (will happen just the facts!) and death may happen but it's a one time thing, it will be over and done with.
Believe and keep believing in me, death might happen but its a one time thing, you will live and keep on living and it's not up to you but will happen to you! Because I (Jesus) and the resurrection and the life!
#3 - I have a _______ . I am a _________ .
"... and whoever lives by believing in me will never die...."
On the surface this is a curious thing because Jesus just said death is a one-time thing, but then he says that those who are living by believing and keeping on believing will never die. It is future tense. It is an impossible negative tense. Death will not happen! So what's up?
We often think of ourselves as our body. We think like this physical self is me and, oh by the way, I also have a soul. As in there are these two parts of me.
The reality is that I AM a soul that right now has THIS body. But the body I currently wear is no more ME than is the clothes I am wearing today. I can take off the clothing, burn the clothing to ashes and it would not affect me and who I am in any way. The same is true of the body.
My flesh is the dressing of my soul, what I wear on the outside. The Bible promises all of us new, glorified, perfect, healthy, eternal bodies that will adorn the real soul of you! The body will die, but the believing and keeping on believing internal soul of you will never die!
This is so clear to us at any funeral we have ever attended where there is a viewing of the body. It is empty. It is a shell. It is a remembrance of what that soul looked like. We could hang a suit or a dress and have the same effect. The soul is alive and well and not with us at present.
This all leads to our Resurrection Day (and every day) question:
#4 - ________________________________
"...Do you believe this?"
This is the question Jesus asks Martha on the day she is grieving over Lazarus. On the surface it seems harsh. Martha is weeping over her loss and Jesus is asking her about her faith! Do you believe?
But again the truth is different than the appearance. Believing even unto death is the key to eternal life. Lazarus would be raised as evidence of Jesus being the resurrection. This same Jesus is the resurrection for us, for our life now, for our possible death and dying, and for our future resurrected, eternal life.
Do you believe today?