I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

Mary, Martha and Lazarus were good friends with Jesus. We see them a couple of times in scripture. We know that Martha was a doer and Mary was the one who just wanted to sit at Jesus feet and soak up all that He had to give her. Well in this story Lazarus became ill and the sisters sent word to Jesus. They didn’t ask him to come. Possibly because they didn’t think they would need to. They were confident enough in His love that they just assumed He would. But when Jesus heard about it, He told the disciples that this would lead to the glory of God. He didn’t set to action immediately. Or so it appeared. He stayed where He was for another two days. Now two days may not seem like a long time when thinking about it. But if you have ever sat by someone’s bedside while they lay dying, and you were praying for a miracle that they would live. It can seem like an eternity. But to Jesus the passage of time, would just enhance the glory that it would bring to God. 

Finally after two long days, Jesus decides to go to Judea. The disciples did not want Him to go because He was a wanted man there. But Jesus went anyway. He knew that Lazarus had died and that it was time for the people to see the miracle. When Jesus arrived Lazarus had already been buried. In fact he had been in the tomb for four days. Now when Martha heard Jesus was coming she went out to meet Him. She immediately said to Jesus “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (v. 21) Oh I am thinking of times I have questioned Jesus for not acting in the way I thought He should have, when I thought He should have. Again, Martha and Mary had sent word to Him. They didn’t think they would need to ask Him to come, they just thought He would. So there was something in their hearts that may have been a little disappointed, something that may have questioned why didn’t He come. But I love Martha’s next statement. 

“But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” John 11:22

Martha was declaring her loyalty and her belief in who Jesus was in spite of her disappointment. She wasn’t asking Jesus to raise Lazarus, we see that after He tells her that Lazarus will rise again. She declares her belief that she will see him in eternity. But her “even now” statement is her declaration that she believes in Jesus regardless of what He was doing or could do for her. What’s your “even now”? Do you believe Jesus can act in your situation even now? Do you believe that even if it doesn’t play out like you wish it would that He can carry you through it, even now?  Then…

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Martha declares again her belief, then she goes to get Mary, who had stayed behind in her grief even though she had heard that Jesus was coming. She had stayed where she was until Jesus called for her. When she knew Jesus would meet her, she got up and went to where He was. 

“Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’” John 11:32

When Mary poured her grief out to Jesus, He wasn’t stoic, He was moved. He wept with her. The words that are used in the original language here show that Mary was wailing, in her grief. Jesus’ was a quietly weeping, but the heart of Jesus was touched with her wailing. He still knew that the glory of God was coming but He still felt her pain right along with her. 

Jesus, Mary and Martha and a crowd went to the tomb where Lazarus lay. When they got to the tomb, Jesus heart was moved again. Then He says “Take away the stone.” (v. 39) Martha argued with Him, just a bit because of the odor. She still did not realize that Jesus was going to raise Lazarus right then. 

“Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’” John 11:40

I have always in the past looked at this statement as a rebuke in some ways to Martha. But I read it a little differently today. I don’t think Jesus was rebuking her as much as He was saying “don’t miss this!” You see Jesus would have done the miracle anyway. I think He acts around us all the time. But sometimes I wonder how much do we miss, because of our own unbelief? How much glory are we missing because we aren’t looking for it? Jesus was going to raise Lazarus and He didn’t want Mary, Martha nor the Jews surrounding them to miss the glory of God. 

“So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around that they may believe that you sent me’” John 11:41-42

He said that for them, He said it for us. Don’t miss this. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He gave Lazarus His life back. Jesus is still resurrecting dead souls back to life. Don’t miss it! Jesus is rescuing, He is healing and He is giving new life to people who have made a mess out of their old life. Don’t miss this! Look for Him today, look for the glory of God. It’s happening all around you, you just have to believe you will see it if you look for it! 

I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Jesus is staying with His theme that he started with the last I AM statement of shepherding sheep. The people he was speaking to would know shepherding as a profession and they would also have known scripture and that famous Psalm that referred to the Lord as shepherd. Jesus started immediately making the correlation that a hired hand would have tucked tail and run at the sign of danger to the sheep. But a good shepherd would lay down his life for his sheep. A good shepherd would not leave the sheep in danger but would face the danger even to the point of risking his own life. Jesus was also foretelling His own destiny of the cross, as He would be laying down His life for us. 

Jesus repeats this statement in verse 14. 

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15 

Every step Jesus took when He was in His earthly ministry was in preparation for the cross. Can you imagine? He knew what was coming the entire time. He knew where it would lead and what His purpose was. And He kept that purpose in mind in the lessons and parables that He taught. So when He was saying here “I sacrifice my life for the sheep”, He knew what a sacrifice He would be making. Yet He was still choosing to be our shepherd. Please let that sink in. Jesus was fully man, but He was also fully God. He knew how the story would play out. He was being real and truthful when He said He would sacrifice His life for His sheep. It was already in the plan. This plan gives us access to the Father. We have access because of the sacrifice Jesus was willingly making for us. 

Jesus is not only our door, He is our shepherd. He calls to us and He leads us. Following Him every day will never lead to danger. He will lead you and He will guide you when you follow His voice. Sometimes in my studies I find a sentence or a phrase that is just so beautiful it bears repeating. I’m not even sure in this case who to give credit to but I will leave you with it here. 

“As those he loves, we are able to hear his voice and follow his leadership, knowing he is good. We are not asked to measure up to some impossible standard or earn his approval. He simply asks us to hear and follow, but that decision is ours to make. He will not force it upon us.” 

Won’t you listen, hear and follow the shepherd’s voice.  He is calling.