Hope In Our Hopelessness, Part 4

Grace For The Journey

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11Oct  The whole event in John 11 was for far more than Lazarus’ sake alone.

It was so that our attention would be drawn –

Not to the event itself –

But to the One who had performed it.

So now; let’s go back and look again at Jesus’ words in verses 25-26.  As we do, we find the following principles.

First, we see that . . .

  1. RESURRECTION AND LIFE IS FOUND IN JESUS HIMSELF.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

He didn’t simply say what the Jewish people

Had known from the Scriptures –

That there is a promised resurrection of the dead.

Rather, He made Himself

The central focus of that resurrection hope.

In fact, His original words

As they’re found in Greek are emphatic:

“I – even I alone –

Am the resurrection and the life.”

This is the first great lesson that we should learn from this passage.

There is no hope for resurrection –

No hope for victory over death –

Apart from Jesus Christ.

He isn’t simply passing on the hope of resurrection to us.  He isn’t even just our example of what resurrection will be like.  He is those things; but He’s much more.  He said that He Himself IS the resurrection and the life. Lazarus could not walk out of the tomb until the Son of God said, “Lazarus, come forth!”

The apostle John was an eyewitness of these events.  He later wrote, “And this the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life: he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12). “Resurrection” and “life” are found in Jesus Christ, and in Him alone; because He alone is “the resurrection and the life.”

Second, we see that . . .

  1. BECAUSE HE IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE, WE HAVE HOPE.

Because Jesus Christ alone is “the resurrection and the life;” and because He Himself has tasted death for us – bearing our sins on the Cross; and because Himself now lives forever more – having been raised from the dead three days later; we now have hope in Him!  If we have placed our trust in Jesus, then the great “trickle-down” truth of the resurrection can permeate every area of our lives and change everything about us.  Our whole lives can be characterized by hope.

Jesus Himself said that He presents hope to us in two ways.  First, He presents hope concerning those who have died in Him.  He told Martha, “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (verse 25).  This is a hope that comforts us with respect toward those who have passed on before us.

When death has taken away someone we love, our sorrow is real.  We miss them; and we long for their fellowship again.  We genuinely grieve.  Jesus Himself knew what that grief felt like.  But because Jesus Himself is “the resurrection and the life,” our grief is experienced in the context of future joy and victory.  The apostle Paul wrote to his fellow believers in the city of Thessalonica, because many of their loved ones had died for their faith through persecution.  He acknowledged their sorrow; and he then told them in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”.

And second, Jesus presents hope concerning those of us who live.  Jesus not only meant for this hope to be a comfort to us when we lose a beloved family member in the Lord by death; it’s also meant to give us, who are living, hope even while we live.

Jesus also told Martha, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (verse 26).  Literally, He used an emphatic negative construction that would read something like this: “… he shall in no way die unto eternity.”  As Christians, we live our lives with the recognition that death may come to us at any time; but we also live with the recognition that death is in no way permanent.  We will in no way die unto eternity. Death, for us, is only temporary; and so, we live in hope.

The apostle Paul lived very much in that hope. He said in 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

We can “know” this too, because of the glory that God has revealed through His Son Jesus Christ – who is “the resurrection and the life.”

So then, we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior from the dead every day.  But in our celebration, let’s make sure that we don’t miss one of the great, life-impacting lessons God wants us to learn about the risen Savior.

Our celebration of His resurrection

Isn’t meant to be something distant and lofty

– Something somehow separated from our everyday experience.

God wants us to see that Jesus Himself

Is the substance of real hope for everyone

Who has placed their trust in Him.

“I am the resurrection and the life”, He said.

“He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

After He made that affirmation, He asked, “Do you believe this?”

Well?  Do you?

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 

 

 

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