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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - I Am the Resurrection and Life

James Meehan - I Am the Resurrection and Life

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    James Meehan - I Am the Resurrection and Life
TOPICS: Bible Nerds

Well, hello and welcome to this episode of "Bible Nerds". We are continuing in our series, "Who is Jesus?" where we've been exploring the seven I am statements that Jesus makes in John's gospel, seven statements that illustrate His identity as the Son of God and paint a picture of what He came to do during His time on earth. Today we're looking at one of the wildest things that Jesus ever said and one of the most mind-blowing miracles He ever performed, both of which take place in John chapter 11.

"A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord's feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother Lazarus was sick, so the two sisters sent a message to Jesus, telling Him, 'Lord, your dear friend is very sick.'" Some Bible versions translate that last sentence as, "Lord, the one you love is sick".

So what does Jesus do when He hears about His dear friend, the one He loves, becoming very sick? He waits. Instead of going to heal Lazarus, even though He can, He doesn't because Jesus has something even bigger planned. Sometimes Jesus doesn't do what we want Him to do when we want Him to do it because He has something even better in store. Maybe you've been asking God to make you more disciplined and focused when it comes to schoolwork, but He hasn't. Why? Well, maybe it's because He wants you to go through the process of putting in the work and developing your character. Getting to the something better is rarely fun or easy. It is often frustrating and painful.

In this case, the something better wouldn't come until after Lazarus died from his sickness. After several days of waiting, Jesus tells His disciples, starting in verse 14 and 15, "Lazarus is dead and for your sakes, I'm glad I wasn't there, for now you will really believe. Come, let's go see him". Don't miss this. Jesus literally tells His followers that He is glad He wasn't there to heal Lazarus's sickness. Like, can you imagine hearing that? How would you have reacted? If it was me, I probably would've thought Jesus was being way too harsh or not caring enough about the whole thing.

You see, sometimes Jesus lets bad things happen so that He can use the bad thing for something better. You've probably experienced something hard at some point in your life. Maybe it was your parents' divorce. Maybe it was the loss of a family pet. Maybe it was a best friend moving away. Even though you may not see it yet, God can and He will use those bad things for good. Picking back up in verse 17, we read this. "When Jesus arrived at Bethany, He was told that Lazarus had already been in His grave for four days". Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, but Mary stayed in the house. "Now, Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.'"

I love Martha's boldness here. She trusts Jesus enough to tell Him the hard truth. She said, "If only you had been here, my brother would not have died". Jesus can handle your emotions. He can handle your hurts. He can handle your doubts. So maybe, like Martha, instead of bottling that thing up or burying it deep inside, you can give it to Jesus. Picking back up in verse 23, here's what we read. "Jesus told her, 'Your brother will rise again.' 'Yes,' Martha said, 'He will rise when everyone else rises at the last day.'" And then in verse 25, Jesus says, "'I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never, ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?'"

Who is Jesus? Jesus is the resurrection and the life. When we believe in Him, our eternity changes. Instead of death having the final say, He does, because a day will come when He returns to make all things new, when the resurrection of all who have died will take place. And if we believe in Him, then He will bring us into the new creation where we will live with Him forever, freed from sin, death, evil, suffering, and the forces of darkness. Full of joy, love, peace, and a hope that will never fade. Do you believe this? Do you believe Him? Martha certainly did.

In verse 27, Martha says, "'Yes, Lord, I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.' Then she, Martha, returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, 'The teacher is here and He wants to see you.' So Mary immediately went to Him". Skipping down to verse 32, we read that, "When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at His feet and said, 'Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.' When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within Him and He was deeply troubled".

Why was Jesus angry? It wasn't because of what Mary said. Jesus is angry because of the pain and heartache that has been caused by sin and death. Jesus is angry because of the ways that suffering and darkness have ravaged the world. He knows this is not the way things are supposed to be. This is why Jesus is angry. It is all an expression of His love for His people who are struggling because His anger is always connected to His love. We can trust that it is never separated from compassion. In verse 34, Jesus asks the question, "Where have you put him"? And so they told him, "'Lord, come and see.' Then Jesus wept". To comfort Martha earlier, Jesus shared truth, but to comfort Mary now, He shed tears. Even though He doesn't always do what we want when we want it, He always loves us enough to give us what we need when we need it, because that's who He is. He is love personified. He is grace and truth wrapped in skin and bones. With grace, He meets us where we are, and with truth, He leads us where we need to be.

No matter how many times you mess up, Jesus will keep chasing you, and no matter how far you have to go, Jesus will keep showing you the way because He is full of grace and truth. In John 11:36 we read, "The people who were standing nearby said, 'See how much He loved him,' but some said, 'This man healed a blind man. Couldn't He have kept Lazarus from dying?'" Now, Jesus was still angry as He arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. "'Roll the stone aside,' Jesus told them, but Martha, the dead man's sister, protested. 'Lord, he's been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.' Jesus responded, 'Didn't I tell you that you would see God's glory if you believe?' So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, 'Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here so that they will believe you sent me.' Then Jesus shouted, 'Lazarus, come out!' And the dead man came out. His hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, 'Unwrap him and let him go.'"

Who is Jesus? Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Not even death can stop Him. The grave couldn't prevent Him from raising Lazarus from the dead, and not even the combined forces of sin, death, darkness, and the devil could keep Him, Jesus, buried in the tomb because on the first Easter Sunday, Jesus proved the truth of these words. He was resurrected from the dead and rose to new life. You see, sometimes Jesus doesn't do what we want Him to do when we want Him to do it because He has something even better in store. That was true for Lazarus, and it's true for you. Sometimes Jesus lets bad things happen so that He can use the bad thing for something better. Sometimes Jesus lets something die so that He can bring it back to life because without the death of Lazarus, he could not be raised to new life. Without Jesus's crucifixion, there would be no resurrection. So do you believe Him? Do you trust Him? If you do, then resurrection is your destiny, but if you don't, then maybe today is the day to start, because Jesus is the resurrection and the life. So take care and stay nerdy.
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