Day 9

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

from the I Am: Statements of Our Savior reading plan

John 11:1-44, Isaiah 26:19, Ezekiel 37:1-14

BY Bailey Gillespie

This past summer, I attended the SING! Conference, hosted by Keith and Kristyn Getty. While there, I heard Joni Eareckson Tada cast a vision for what the resurrection must mean for the physically and mentally disabled. She shared how the first thing she hoped to do in heaven after regaining the use of her legs was to kneel before God. This was because, growing up in church traditions that made space for confessional kneeling, she was not able to participate in this part of the liturgy, although her confidence in God’s goodness was obvious. I believe the resurrection, which means a literal “raising up,” has a secondary layer of beauty for those who cannot raise themselves physically now.

When Martha confesses belief that her brother Lazarus will rise again on the last day, Jesus tells her that He is “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Although Martha already believed in the coming resurrection, she didn’t appear to fully understand that Christ Himself was the embodiment of it. I imagine this is why Jesus explains how those who believe in Him will live on even after death and asks her: “Do you believe this?” (v.26).

The idea of Jesus raising her brother from the dead that day was almost too good to be true for Martha. It was a big ask. Her cheeks still wet with tears of grief, she knew that she would see her brother again, but it felt like hoping against hope that Jesus would revive his breath when so many others didn’t get that privilege. Four days in, surely Lazarus was gone (v.17).

To Martha, the resurrection at the end of history was a detached concept. It provided her with hope, but only a futuristic hope that barely touched her present grief. Jesus surprised her by bringing her brother back to life with the simple command of “Lazarus, come out!” (v.44).

One of my best friends told me once that “Truth is a Man.” It’s always stuck with me. Although, for some, Christianity may just be a system of strung together theological concepts (our human attempt to understand God), the center of the gospel is the person of Jesus Christ—who has skin and bones. Our whole faith history, before and after the incarnation, must now be interpreted through that earth-shattering event. This Man, who is also fully God, has the power to resurrect all things—our physical bodies and hearts and even the empty places that don’t have a name.

Whether, like Joni Earechson Tada, you’re one of the walking wounded who feel stuck or held back by physical and mental disadvantages, or you simply feel the toll of being human, the hope of the resurrection is that it is here, now—because He is here, now. Because Christ is in us, the same Spirit’s power that raised Him from the dead is in us, too (Romans 8:11). What a crazy and humbling thought that is.

Post Comments (33)

33 thoughts on "I Am the Resurrection and the Life"

  1. Carrie Hammons says:

    It was so encouraging to look at this from a different light. Jesus is not just the resurrection of life in regards to life itself (raising the dead) and even eternal life (our sinful death), but over the dead things in our life. He can resurrect dead marriages and relationships, dead creativity…he can redeem and restore and give new life to any area of our life.

  2. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    I love the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, it’s one of my favorites! Jesus gave His disciples a hint of what He would do in vs 4 when He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son Of God may be glorified through it.” But still, they just didn’t get it. I can’t belittle them for it though, because how many times have I “not got it”? I am so thankful that Jesus and our Heavenly Father are so patient with me. They will keep on giving opportunities to learn – until I do get it! Thank you God for your mercies that fail not! Also, this Ezekiel passage keeps coming up. It has been such an encouragement to me as my church has gone through some difficult times this past year. Ezekiel 37 reminds me that it is God, and God alone who can breath new life into our souls and into our churches!They said, “our hope is lost” but God said, “I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live…” (vs 11 & 14) If that doesn’t give me hope – nothing will! I look forward expectantly to what God is going to do in our future!

  3. Pam White says:

    “And I will put my Spirit within you and you will live!”- God can use all things, even dry bones, to accomplish His purpose. His power is unmatched! Lord, help me remember this when my problems seem too big and my faith is too small. Thank you for the reminder that you are life giving.

  4. Janet C says:

    I have a brother who is mentally handicapped. He has been so all his life and he turned 60 this year. When we were growing up the term used then was mentally retarded. So, on a side note I hate when people call people retarded. Today from what I’ve learned and read he is probably on the autistic scale somewhere.. he loves sports, especially the Saints and LSU. He can remember scores from long ago and keeps a notebook of all games he watches. He loves his computer, his tv, and old tv shows and he absolutely loves to talk- and meet people. Reading Joni’s statement of being able to kneel just reminded me again how beautiful heaven will be when I can see my brother whole, it just brings tears to my eyes to think how glorious that will be. His dry “mind” will be active and clear and raised to a new life.

  5. Kelly Chataine says:

    Jesus provided His disciples with a hint: John 11:11 He said this, and then he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep,e but I’m on my way to wake him up.”

    We probably all know this story but the disciples lived it as each detail unfolded. This provides hope and peace for all of us. Our current situations might be so serious like Lazarus’s but to God, it is as simple as waking someone that sleeps.

    Blessed are You Lord God King of the Universe that You have given us all that we need to know through Your Word!

  6. Melissa Graves says:

    Today’s scripture is rich with meaning and full of the glory of God. I never tire of re-visiting the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. What struck me this time is that while Mary and Martha were confident in Jesus’ ability to heal their brother, it never occurred to them that He could or would raise him from the dead…hence all the grief. And I , in my moments of shallow faith do the same thing…pray for a certain outcome and place my own limits on what He can/will do. Lord, I truly repent. Lord, I believe…please help Thou my unbelief!

  7. Terri says:

    Martha is one of my favorite people in the Bible because I can relate to her. Too many times, I am like Martha. Too busy to reflect, to pray, to believe fully. Often, I am caught up in the “I must get this done” phase instead of being like Mary sitting at His feet.

  8. Tricia C says:

    Thank you ladies for your beautiful and heartfelt thoughts this morning.
    Again with Ezekiel 37. It gets me every time. Something about that passage just brings me to tears. If I could get on my knees physically I would be there.
    Just the thought of the Lord filling these dry bones with His Spirit can be so overwhelming. I am so grateful that He does.
    Thank you Lord, for how you Love me. How you fill me again and again.
    Blessings and peace to you sisters.

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