Introducing Jesus: "I am the resurrection and the life"
"On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now 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. 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?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:17-27
If you've been reading through this series so far, I hope Jesus has been revealing Himself to you in new ways as we take a closer look at how he introduced Himself in the book of John. I have to say, this introduction is probably the most fascinating one to me.
Not because of what Jesus is saying, but because of when and how He shared this introduction with Martha.
Here's a quick recap of where we're at in the book of John: Jesus was out of town avoiding religious leaders when He gets the news that Lazarus is near death. But Jesus stays where He's at, and by the time He's returned Lazarus is dead. Lazarus was a good friend of Jesus' and so were Mary and Martha. So Martha goes out to meet Jesus, and here is where Jesus says "I am the resurrection and the life."
Martha is mourning. She is dealing with a significant loss and Jesus confronts her loss with this introduction.
When I first read this passage, I think it seems like Jesus is saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I'm not sure what I want to hear when I've experienced loss is the promise of some far off, seemingly distant hope when I'm present in my loss and despair right now. I imagine that Martha and Mary felt that way a little bit too.
In verse 22 Martha shares a big prayer, but in a small way. Shyly, I think she was asking Jesus to bring Lazarus back to life.
In her own way she's saying, I know who you are. And I know God will respond to you.
Then Jesus points to Himself. He says "I am the resurrection and the life." Martha believes Him, she thinks Lazarus will have eternal life, but I think she thought Jesus was saying no. I think she thought Jesus was saying that's later, at a different time Lazarus will have eternal life.
Later on, Jesus calls Lazarus out of the grave and he comes back to life. This passage is so mind-blowing, but I can't help but read scripture like a literature student. Can you see the foreshadowing too?
Martha makes a quiet request, she says, I know who you are. I know God will respond to you. Will you make my request to God? And Jesus says, "I am the resurrection and the life."
Now, Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father and He is interceding for us (Romans:34). When we see Martha's request made to Jesus, who she's requesting will make her request known to God, we get this incredible foreshadowing of who Jesus is to us, and a model for how to pray.
Martha knew who Jesus was. When we pray in Jesus' name, we are praying to Him seated at the right hand of the Father, ready to intercede for us.
And when we make our requests known to Jesus, we can expect Him to respond.
Now, we see this passage in the full context of scripture and know that Jesus died Himself and rose again, conquering death.
In the face of whatever loss, difficulty, uncertainty or desperation you might be facing today, I hope we all choose to go out to greet Jesus.
To share our request with Him, to acknowledge who He is--the resurrection and the life--and to know that the power of His identity as the resurrection and the life changes things, not just one day, but today.
-Consider the implications the resurrection has on your daily life. Do you view Jesus as the resurrection?
-What requests do you have today, like Martha's? How can you present them to Jesus?
-How does Jesus' position change how you pray?
Allow the truth of who Jesus is and His power to impact your prayer life this week. Intentionally pray in Jesus' name.
Jesus thank you for being the resurrection and the life. Thank you for securing eternal life for me with you, and for being present in my life today as you redeem and restore everything. Thank you for being my intercessor, I pray you would hear my prayers and bring them to the Father. Amen.