Jesus was in Bethabara with his disciples. Bethabara is located at the top of the Dead Sea. Bethany, where our story takes place is near Jerusalem, which is about 20 miles east of Bethabara.
Martha and Mary were sisters, and had a brother named Lazarus.
Mary and Martha sent word from Bethany to Jesus who was in Bethabara, that their brother Lazarus was sick. Jesus said, “this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Scripture goes on to tell us Jesus waited 2 days before heading towards Jerusalem. We can ask ourselves….why did he wait so long, why didn’t he go right away?? Did he not love Lazarus??
Yes, Jesus loved Lazarus deeply, scripture tells us that Jesus wept and the Jew observed this and said, “See how He loved Him!” But Jesus knew what He had to do. He was obedient to the Father and waited. Knowing that waiting for the right moment was the Fathers plan. Jesus knew Lazarus death would not end in permanent death, but Instead Lazarus would indeed rise and through this, Jesus would be glorified.
John 11: 17-29
17- so, when Jesus came, He found that he (meaning Lazarus) had already been in the tomb four days.
18-now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about 2 miles away.
19-and many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20-Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house.
Martha-more of an activist, always busy
Mary- more of a contemplator, the one who sat at Jesus feet,
21-Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
22-“but even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
What confession of faith Martha showed to Jesus.
23-Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again”
24-Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day”.
The word “again” is not in the Greek, it is better to omit it in the translation.
Martha here did not think that He would rise immediately but believed in the final resurrection at the last day because Jesus had taught on it.
25-“most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
26-for as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself
27-and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man
28-Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming in which all who are in the grave will hear His voice
29-and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
So…Martha believed in the resurrection of the dead at the last day.
25-Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
To the unbeliever, this doesn’t make sense to them at all, but to the believer, you and me, this makes complete sense. We know that death ushers in new life.
In 2 Corinthians 5:8 Paul says, we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” This is as seen as that the moment we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord. This understanding is seen most clearly in Jesus words to the criminal on the cross when He said, “ Today you will be with Me in paradise. “ Luke 23:43
Christ’s resurrection gives us certainty of the resurrection of our own bodies. Jesus is the Head of the church. And If Christ being the head has risen, then us being members, will rise with Him.
As in the first Adam we all died, even so in Him our second Adam (Jesus), we must all in this sense, rise also and be made alive. As He is alive.
I want to focus on Jesus words of” I am the Resurrection and the Life:”
Let’s first look at accounts in scripture where Jesus points to the resurrection.
During Jesus ministry there were times that He would talk specifically to His disciples only. He wanted them to know and wanted them to remember things concerning Himself. 3 times in the gospel Jesus predicts his death and resurrection.
18-behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death
19-and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the 3rd day He will rise again.
Whenever Jesus talked about His death, the cross, He ALWAYS followed it up with the resurrection. He wanted his disciples to know and understand that death wasn’t the end for Him.
But, at that time, his disciples didn’t fully understand what he was saying. It was not until after Jesus resurrection they came to realize the Importance of the work of His resurrection. His death was turned into defeat, His shame into salvation, His rejection into redemption, and His grief into glory.
In John 2 we read that Jesus was in the Temple, and found those who were selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and money changers doing business. He made a whip, drove them all out of the temple and overturned the money tables. The Jews asked Jesus
18-, “ what sign do You show to us, since You do these things?
19- And Jesus answered, “destroy this temple, and in 3 days I will raise it up.”
20-then the Jews said, “it has taken forty six years to build this temple and will You raise it up in 3 days?
21-but He was speaking of the temple of His body.
They demanded some proof for His right to challenge them of what they were doing, but instead of giving in to their demand, as Jesus rarely did, He chose to puzzle his listeners. Jesus knew that all authority had been given to Him in heaven and on earth. And by saying, “destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up”, was the proof that He has the authority to do what he did. But they did not understand Him.
Matthew 12 says Jesus finished healing a man who was blind and mute, and the multitudes were amazed and asked if this could be “the Son of David”. After hearing this, the Pharisees said, “this fellow does not cast out demons except by Belzebub, the ruler of demons”
38-then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39-but He answered and said to them, “ an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah,
40-for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Again in Matthew 16
Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and Sadducees for once again they asked him for a sign.
4-“ a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah”
The sign of the prophet Jonah is “the Resurrection”. It’s the one sign upon which we build our faith.
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. Henry Morris said that ,”Everything else that was said or done by Christ and the apostles is secondary in importance to the resurrection. If the resurrection did not take place then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth.”
So the question is…"Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ important?"
Quoting Henry Morris, PHD
First, it witnesses to the great power of God Himself. To believe in the resurrection is to believe in God. If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, He has power to raise the dead. Correct? If He does not have such power, He is not a God worthy of our faith and worship.
Only God who created life can resurrect it after death, only God can reverse death itself, and only God can remove the sting, that is death and the victory that is the grave’s “oh Death, where is your sting? Oh Hades, where is your victory?”(1 Corinthians 15:54-55). In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death. …Amen??
Second, the resurrection places Jesus in a different category than any other so called holy man. Jesus was the only one who rose from the dead. He is alive, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. For all eternity.. Buddha, Mohammad, they are dead and still in the grave. Jesus resurrection promises to all that believe in Him, will do the same. Rise and be with Him.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul explains in detail the importance of the resurrection of Christ. Some in Corinth did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, and in this chapter Paul gives six consequences if there were no resurrection:
1) preaching Christ would be senseless/no need (v. 14);
2) faith in Christ would be useless/empty (v. 14);
3) all the witnesses and preachers of the resurrection would be liars (v. 15);
4) no one would be redeemed from sin (v. 17);
5) all former believers would have perished (v.18); and
6) Christians would be the most pitiful people on the earth (v. 19).
He doesn’t leave it there though, Paul concludes to say in verse 20
20-“But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” assuring that we will follow Him in resurrection.
Without the resurrection, it is quite certain there would have been no Christian church. With the death of Jesus, their Master, the disciples were utterly confused and afraid for their own lives and hid. There is no possible way that they could have continued as apostles, teaching and preaching the Words of Christ. Nor would they have been able to persuade others to follow.
But with their assurance that Christ was alive, they went forth everywhere proclaiming the resurrection, and multitudes became believers in their Living Lord.
The importance of Christ’s resurrection is seen throughout the New Testament in the book of Acts, and in the Epistles. The book of Revelation, opens with Christ's identification of Himself as "the first born from the dead,"1: 5 and as ”I am, He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.” 1:18
John Courson in his commentary asks a few questions pertaining to Jesus resurrection that we can ask as well. Are my sins REALLY forgiven? How do I know if the Cross REALLY “took”? Was God FULLY satisfied with the sacrifice of Jesus? YES, YES and YES. The resurrection proves Jesus is the Messiah and that His work on the cross was complete.
We have to remember that the Old Testament deals with material and physical issues that pictures spiritual New Testament principles. So with that in mind, here is an example…
Before Christ, before the Cross, the High priest, dressed in linen, went into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat, the people would wonder and wait. If the high priest was himself defiled, if the high priest was himself polluted by sin, he would be smitten dead in the Holy of holies. But if he emerged, his linen garments sprinkled with blood, the people would know the offering “took”. They would know their sins were forgiven.
Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, wrapped in linen, was placed in the tomb. All of heaven wondered. All of history waited. Did the offering take? Was His blood accepted? Because He emerged from the tomb on that Glorious Easter Sunday, we know the offering did indeed, take. We know His blood was accepted. We know that we are forgiven. All because of His Resurrection. What a glorious event!!
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is proven historically. By an empty tomb, by 10 separate occasions listed in scripture of the “appearance of Christ” after He left the tomb.
Henry Morris goes on to say, “ It is no exaggeration, therefore, to maintain that the bodily resurrection of Christ is as certain as any fact of history can ever be. If there is anything at all in which we can believe with absolute confidence, it is the fact that Jesus Christ died, was buried, then conquered death and is now alive!
Many have set out to disprove the Resurrection of Jesus, and ended up becoming born-again Christians. I love it!! His Word does not return void!!
Frank Morison ,turn of the century English journalist and Ivy League scholar, set out to prove that the story of Christ’s resurrection was only a myth. During his research, the Resurrection story had captured his attention. His searching, however, led him to discover the validity of the biblical record in a moving, personal way who later wrote , “Who Moved the Stone?
Lee Strobal, a former atheist and legal editor for the Chicago Tribune crossed examined a dozen experts with doctorates who specialized in areas of OT manuscripts and biblical studies to disprove Jesus and His resurrection. Lee came to faith in Jesus Christ and wrote “the Case for Christ”
A couple other books, “evidence that demands a verdict by Josh McDowell, or Know Why You Believe” by Paul Little.
The resurrection not only proves the validity of His sacrifice, but it provides the ability for us to live in Christ. Jesus said, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life”.
POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION
The apostle Paul was a legalistic religious man of his day. He knew ABOUT God theologically and intellectually, but after he had an encounter with Jesus on the Road to Damascus he wanted to KNOW Him intimately.
Philippians 3:10 says, “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection”. The word “know” is most important. “Ginosko” in Greek. Means by experience, or on a personal level.
In John 4…Paraphrasing…. Jesus spent time with a Samaritan woman at Jacobs well. He spoke to her, they conversed back and forth. But most of all she listened as Jesus revealed himself to her. She went and told the other villagers. Jesus stayed with them for 2 days communing. The villagers said to the Samaritan woman in verse 42, “now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard of Him, and we know that this is indeed the Christ , the Savior of the world.”
After Christ’s resurrection he descended into Hades, set the captives free, walked on earth being seen by hundreds, then on the 40th day of his resurrection, ascended to heaven. 10 days later he breathed on his disciples and sent the Holy Spirit which empowered them.
Now, many of us know people who profess to be a Christian, but we are unsure if they truly are. It is not our place to decide or judge, Christ is the only one who truly knows the heart of a person.
Scripture does point out though that not all are saved that profess. Pastor Steve covered this topic on Sunday’s teaching. I love how the Lord does this!!
Matt 7:22 “Lord have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? and Jesus answered them, “I never knew you, depart from me.” That word “knew” is most important.
George Whitefield said, “For he is not a true Christian who is one outwardly. To profess to believe that Christ rose again the 3rd day only. But a true Christian is one inwardly, one not only to profess to believe, but have felt the power of our Christ, by being quickened by His Spirit.
Jesus himself said in John 3:3, “most assuredly I say to you, unless on is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.
Many think that all they have to do was to believe in Christ, and that our faith saves them. Isn’t this true for even our text in John 11:25 say, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live”? and also in Ephesians 2 :8 “for by grace you have been saved through faith”?
The answer….Yes and amen!! It is the truth and we should walk in this truth and believe in this truth.
The thing is… This faith cannot be by a “dead faith”, a head faith only, the outward. Rather by “living faith” in our hearts, the inward. This faith comes by the power of Christ’s resurrection.
Its more than just believing. The devils themselves believe in Christ and tremble, but they continue to be devils. The benefits of the Resurrection have not been applied to them, nor have they received the power of Christ’s Resurrection by the infilling of Gods Holy Spirit.
As Christ was born of a virgins womb, so must we be born spiritually in our hearts. As Christ died for our sin, so must we must die to sin. As Christ rose from the dead, so must we have the promise of rising also!! Praise the Lord!!
My prayer is the prayer of the apostle Paul. That we may all be like minded. To know the power of Christ’s resurrection. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. The power of His resurrection is as great today as it was the day He rose.
25(again) –Jesus said to her, “I Am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
26- “and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die, Do you believe this?
27- and Mary said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.
10-He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself, he who does not believe, God has made Him (Jesus) a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son
11-and this is the testimony, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son
12-He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life
13-these things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God
Revelation 21:5 tells us that Jesus, makes all things new, His promise of forgiveness, salvation, resurrection, and eternal life is available on an individual basis to every person, to each and every one, me and you, who believes in Him and accepts His Word.
The disciples were ordinary simple men, once they experienced the power of Christ’s resurrection they were never the same. I can only speak for myself, I too am an ordinary simple woman, but because I have experienced Christ’s resurrection I will forever, never be the same. May Christ be glorified in my life!!
My discussion to all of you:
My discussion question to all of you…Has there ever been a time in your life that you have experienced the power of Christ’s resurrection? Boldness that you know that is not of yourself, or the experience of Jesus giving you the gift of tongues/ or prophesy?