Monday, June 24, 2002

Edifier du jour-John 11:17-27
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
Verses 25 and 26 are the kickers, especially with the closer, "Do you believe this?" Believers are promiced eternal life; Jesus shows his street creds by raising Lazerus a few verses later. Three days was supposed to be the maximum time a soul hung around the body in Jewish tradition, so four days in the grave was door-nail dead. If there was any doubt that Jesus had a direct connection to God, this dispelled it. However, it isn't the physical resurection of Lazarus that I'm dwelling upon today, it is the eternal life that Jesus says is available to the believer that is the key point. In Carman's Lazarus Come Forth, the story-song is introduced with a basso profundo reading verse 25 in the King James-"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Thus, death isn't the end for the believer, it is a graduation ceremony for moving on to a life with God. For if there is no life beyond this, the benefits of leading a godly life are more limited. The council and peace of mind that God does provide in the here-and-now are significant, but it is that eternal security that makes putting one's faith in Jesus that much easier to do. I will direct Jesus' question to Martha to the reader-Do you believe this?

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