The most important events in human history are the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. … Jesus made this wonderfully profound statement that changed the world, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). The resurrection is our great hope.
Come Out from the Tomb
Have you ever felt as though the burdens you encounter and the cares of the world have drawn the very life out of you? Well, I have good news for you! God wants you to “come out from the tomb.”
He wants to raise you from the dead and give you new hope and strength to endure the difficulties of life.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 (NIV)
We entomb ourselves with the sins of the world, allowing our lives to be wrapped in the shroud of despair. Because we have forsaken the “joy of the Lord,” we no longer have the strength to fight!
“This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b (NIV)
“The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give!” Psalm 21:1 (NIV)
As we continue in this state, we begin to grieve for who we once were in Him. We long for the sweet communion that once bloomed in our hearts. The merriment of that relationship is lost and the door to the tomb begins to close. Our worship no longer smells sweet but is a disappointing odor to God and those around us.
Our God is very capable of raising the dead and bringing complete restoration in our lives just as He raised Lazarus from the dead. He had to come out from the tomb.
Sometimes God allows us to be placed in the tomb to serve as a testimony to others when He brings us out.
“Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.” John 12:17 (NIV)
This is relative to my situation when suddenly I was thrust into the role of a single parent. I allowed the sins of worry, unbelief, and doubt to take control. There was no joy in my life and depression allowed me to die. It was impossible to help anyone else because there wasn’t enough strength to help myself. Now the door to my tomb was closed.
As I lay there in my state of lonely depression, God ministered to my heart that He was there. He promised that He would never leave nor forsake me. Immediately, strength came back into my soul.
The stone to my tomb rolled back as He whispered Romans 8:28 in my heart:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)
God used my situation as a witness to encourage others by giving them hope to live. We must focus our attention on Him, so we, like Lazarus, will be able to hear His voice when He calls: “Come out from the tomb.”
No matter what your affliction or bondage is, God is able to raise you from the dead spiritually. When we place our faith and trust in Him, as we lie silently beneath the cares of life, He will do for us just as He did with Jesus. He will raise us from the dead, roll away the stone and say, “Come out from the tomb” and live.
What Does Jesus Mean When He Says, “I am the resurrection and the life” in John 11:25?
By: Meg BucherWriter , Author, crosswalk.com
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” John 11:25
Our Savior came to earth to testify to God’s Truth, His Truth. And in doing so as a human He chose to feel what we feel. Jesus’ life on earth, death on the cross, and resurrection, was and is the way God chooses to shower mercy on us. God, who is love, sacrificed His Son in the greatest act of love the world will ever know. John, self-proclaimed, “one who Jesus loved,” was Christ’s earthly best friend. Much like the way he saw himself changed because of Jesus, his Gospel brings the love God has for us, and the way He sees us, to life. We are all the ones Jesus loves!
John leaned on his Savior at the Last Supper. His Gospel account is rich with the friendship the two men shared. As John retells the story of Jesus raising His friend Lazarus from the dead, he camps out on a pivotal Gospel truth. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. It is in Jesus, we find true life and resurrection from the death our sins warrant. As believers in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died for our sins and was raised from the dead, we are raised to new life in Christ.
Who Is the Resurrection and the Life in John’s Gospel?
Life is a major theme and concept of John’s Gospel. The word life occurs 36 times in his Gospel compared to no more than 17 in any of the other Gospel accounts. “Jesus did not merely have the power to resurrect,” Moody Bible Commentary explains, “His claim I am the resurrection and the life makes Him the very source of resurrection and all life.” John recorded seven, notably the Biblical number signifying perfection, of Jesus’ profound “I am” statements:
“I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:35)
“I am the Gate.” (John 10:7)
“I am the Resurrection and the Life.” (John 11:25)
“I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6)
“I am the True Vine.” (John 15:1)
Out of the seven, three contain the word “life:” “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35); “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” (John 11:25); and “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. “All of God’s sovereignty is mediated through Christ, and it hinges on his power over death in his resurrection,” preached John Piper. One person of our Triune God, Jesus, came to earth fulfilling over 300 Old Testament prophecies with His birth alone. “Everyone who lives refers to one’s physical life since it is followed by and believes in Me,” Moody Bible Commentary explains, “Only in this life does one have the chance to believe in Christ (Hebrews 9:27).”
The New Testament contains four Gospel accounts, all of which focus mostly on the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. John’s purpose is clear: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)“Life is Christ’s gift (John 10:28) and he, in fact, is ‘the life’ (John 14:6),” explains the NIV Study Bible, “Life in living fellowship with God- both now and forever.”
The Meaning and Context of John 11:25, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life”
Jesus had friends during His life on earth. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were among His close friends. At this point in John’s narrative, Jesus receives word that Lazarus is sick and dying. Instead of rushing to His friend’s side with a miraculous healing, Jesus stays back for two more days. “This sickness will not end in death,” Jesus said, “No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). When He finally arrives, Mary and Martha are distraught. Martha tries to piece together what she knows about Jesus and His teachings but struggles to fully understand why Jesus didn’t come before her brother died. “Jesus comforts Martha in her grief and gives her an eternal hope all because she stopped to listen to what He had to say,” wrote Yvonne Morgan for Beloved Women.
Our Savior weeps with us. He truly knows how we feel. At the sight of His friends’ pain, He felt sadness. Though He must have known it would cause His friends pain, Jesus was always obedient to His Father in Heaven. Everything He said and did glorified God the Father. He raised Lazarus from the dead with a command, and suddenly the truth becomes clearer for those who witnessed him walk out of the tomb.
“Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40
There are seven signs in the Gospel of John, one of them being Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead: Changing water into wine (John 2:1-11); healing an official’s son (John 4:43-54); healing a disabled man at the Bethesda pool (John 5:1-15); feeding the 5, 000 (John 6:1-14); walking on water (John 6:16-21); healing the man born blind (John 9:1-12); and raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44) (NIV Study Bible notes on Jn 11:25). Lazarus had been dead for days. In fact, his sister warned Him of the smell as Jesus approached the tomb. “Only as we confront the reality of death will we appreciate the hope of the resurrection,” wrote Constantine Campbell for desiringGod, “There is nothing like death to make us desire resurrection.”
Many had seen His miracles, including Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. But to raise someone from the dead was a possibility that escaped them. At one point, Martha says 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” (John 11:21-22). When Jesus tells her that her brother will rise again (John 11:23), Martha repeats what she knows of Jesus’ teachings but still fails to connect them to who He is: “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” And to that, Jesus replied: “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)
Raising the dead is something only God is capable of. “Jesus raises the dead because he is the resurrection,” preached John Piper. Jesus not only gives resurrection and life, He is Resurrection and Life. “Our ultimate hope,” John Piper explains, “is not simply to be with Christ in immaterial existence, but to have resurrected bodies.” He was with God in the beginning (Genesis 1 and John 1), came to earth to live, died on the cross, and was raised to life; He now sits at the right hand of the Father. Jesus is eternal, which is what we become … in Him.
John’s Gospel told us last week that the reason Jesus did not go to heal Lazarus when he heard he was sick was because he loved him and his sisters Mary and Martha. He would stay where he was, and let Lazarus die, because he loved them. Verses 5–6: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So [therefore!], when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”
And the explanation that Jesus gave for how letting him die was love came in verse 4: “This illness does not lead to death [though he will die, that’s not the goal or the point]. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” In other words, it was more loving to put Lazarus through death and his sisters through grief, if that would reveal more of God’s glory to them and more of the glory of Christ. Jesus loves us by showing us himself.
Receiving Grace in Seeing Jesus
“Jesus loves us by showing us himself.”
This is absolutely fundamental to the main purpose of this Gospel — and the whole Bible. In John 1:14–16, John writes, “The Word [the eternal Son of God] became flesh [became human] and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Then in verse 16, he relates the demonstration of that divine glory to us. Verse 16: “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” So the pattern is this: Jesus reveals his divine glory — glory as of the only Son from the Father — and we behold it, and from its fullness we receive grace.
So the incarnate revealing of the glory of God in Christ, climaxing with the cross and the resurrection, and our seeing it is the way we receive grace — that is, the way we are saved and receive all the promises of eternal life.
How Jesus Loves Us
So this whole Gospel is built around revelations of the glory of God in Jesus. And what we saw last week is this new emphasis that this is the way Jesus loves us. He does not mainly love us in this life by sparing us suffering and death. He mainly loves us by showing us and giving us himself and his glory. God loves us mainly by giving us himself and all that he is for us in Jesus. Jesus loves us mainly by giving us himself and all that God is for us in him.
Don’t measure the love of God for you by how much health and wealth and comfort he brings into your life. If that were the measure of God’s love, then he hated the apostle Paul. Measure God’s love for you by how much of himself he shows you. How much of himself he gives you to know and enjoy.
God’s Love in Giving Himself to Us
Before we see all this worked out in Bethany (verses 17–44), consider two confirmations from two other texts. For example, someone might say: but when I think of the love of God I think of John 3:16. Me too. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God’s love is the gift of eternal life at the cost of his Son. Yes. Yes. Yes!
But what is the heart and essence of eternal life? Jesus tells in John 17:3: “This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” The essence of eternal life is the never-ending knowing of God the Father and God the Son. For God so loved the world, that at the cost of his Son’s life, he brought us into an everlasting knowing, admiring, loving, enjoying of himself and Jesus. The love of God is the gift of himself. And the greatness of that love increases in proportion to the greatness of his glory.
Jesus’s Love in Manifesting Himself to Us
And here’s a second confirmation that we are on the right track. In John 14:21, Jesus says, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” What a wonderful statement! “I will love you, and manifest myself to you.” That is how I will love you.
“The love of God is the gift of his glorious self.”
Oh, how many of us can testify to this reality with thankfulness and joy. In the days of suffering and loss, in the days of darkness, and when it seemed that all around our souls would give way, Jesus loved us — not first by taking away the suffering or the loss or the darkness, but first by giving us himself in ways that could not have been ours without this painful season. If you demand that God love you the way the world expects to be loved in this life, you won’t know what it is to really be loved by God. The love of God is the gift of his glorious self.
Because he loved Lazarus and Mary and Martha, he stayed two days longer and let them walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and then went and showed them his glory.
So let’s go with him.
Invincible Until the Cross
In verse 7, he says, “Let’s go.” And his disciples remind him in verse 8 that just a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to kill him. Are you sure? After last weekend’s message, several of you have asked me about Jesus’s strange answer in verses 9–10. He says, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
What’s he saying? They say, “If you go to Judea, you’re going to run into a mob and get stoned.” And Jesus says, “No, I won’t. There are twelve hours in the day, and I am going to walk in the light of that day. And so I won’t be in the dark, and so I won’t stumble into a stoning mob. I will arrive at my appointment with the cross exactly when I intend to — at the end of that day.”