Friday, July 24, 2015

EmmDev 2015-07-24 [John's Portraits of Christ] 11. Resurrection and Life

11. Resurrection and Life

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" She replied, "Yes, Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God who comes into the world."      (John11:25-27)
Lazarus has died. He was sick and Jesus deliberately took His time getting there. He told His disciples beforehand that Lazarus would die and that he would be raised again. Now Jesus must face Mary and Martha, the brokenhearted sisters of Lazarus.

The two sisters do not grieve in the same way: Martha is angry and reasoning (even bargaining) whilst Mary is sad and quiet. Jesus must focus Martha's attention on His identity. He is the Resurrection and the Life. Many translations translate Martha's answer in the present tense: "Yes Lord, I believe that You are the Christ." I think the tentative past tense we have in this translation is more in line with the Greek. If Martha's statement was one of unshakeable faith, why would she object to Jesus wanting the tomb opened as she does later in the chapter? Martha's position is that she once trusted Jesus completely, now that her brother was dead because Jesus dilly-dallied, she's not too sure anymore.

Jesus' response to Mary, whose need is more emotional than intellectual, is to ask where Lazarus is buried. And then He does a very strange thing: He weeps. But His tears are not for Lazarus: He has told His disciples and Martha that Lazarus will rise. His tears are tears of frustration at the futility of death and tears of compassion as He weeps with Mary and Martha in their pain. And He still stands at gravesides and memorial services today and He still weeps with those who mourn.

Then with a loud voice Jesus turns a verbal claim into a physical reality: Lazarus! Come out!

He has power over death - for Him death does not have the final say. He is the Resurrection and the Life.