We’ve been walking through the corridor of John’s Portraits of Jesus and in John 11 we see one of the most significant portraits of Christ, “The Prince of Life”
I once had a conversation with a friend about the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. “Ah yes, the worst miracle Jesus ever performed,” he said. I must have had a puzzled look on my face cause he explained to me that Lazarus was already in glory and Jesus brought him back to earth… in his same broken body! Can you imagine being Lazarus? “Wait, I’m back?” That might have been cool until he realizes, “Wait, I’m gonna have to die all over again!”
I never thought of that before. All the people who were raised from the dead all had to die again! This was true for:
- The Widow’s Son in Luke 7
- Jairus’ Daughter in Luke 8
- of course Lazarus here in John 11
- Tabitha in Acts 9
- and Eutychus in Acts 20
Resurrection vs. Resuscitation
Now you need to know; there’s a difference between resurrection and resuscitation. Resuscitation means raising the person in the old mortal body in which they died. Resurrection, on the other hand, refers to putting on a new, glorified body.
All of these people were resuscitated only to have to die again, but there is only ONE who died on the cross and on the third day was RESURRECTED, NEVER TO DIE AGAIN! Jesus was no resuscitated. Jesus was resurrected!
In John 11:23 Jesus tries to explain to Martha that we will rise again, and she understands that, but she understands it in the traditional Jewish context. The thought of resurrection in the last days was introduced in the ancient letter written by Daniel. So it is no surprise for Martha to say this. But now, Jesus proclaims a new truth for everyone to hear:
John 11:25-26 (NLT) 25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
I want you to hear these words as Jesus says them to you today. Jesus tells you, “I am the resurrection and the life, if you live and believe in me, you’ll never die. Do you believe me (insert your name here)?
What an incredible promise for us! You gotta know, we are Lazarus! Or better yet, Lazarus is us. Hang with me here for a minute:
Lazarus is actually the shortened name for Eleazar which means, “God helps.” He is from the town of Bethany, which means “House of Affliction. SO we can literally translate this situation as God helping the afflicted. Lazarus is the one Jesus loves, but he represents for us all those whom Jesus loves, which includes you, me, and all humankind.
Lazarus’ story is a story of coming from death to life. A story of hope restored! That should be our story! My story is a death to life story! And aren’t we people with afflictions?
Just like Lazarus stunk after being in the tomb for four days, I would say that there are times our life just really stinks.
The Good News
We have a Savior who is not afraid to come face to face with death on our behalf and call us out into his holy light. Lazarus is us, bound by death in our current lives, called to life by Jesus who is the Light and the Life of the world. Jesus stands at the edge of our tomb and shouts…
(insert your name here) Come out!
We need to hear his command, and walk into the light of day, pulling free of our grave clothes as we go. Come out of your grave today and take the hand of The Prince of Life. For Jesus is the only one who has the ability to resurrect us today.