Thursday, March 30  “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Scripture: John 11:25-27

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Some thoughts:

To Martha, Jesus spoke the electrifying words that no one expected, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Resurrection and life are two related dimensions of Jesus’ statement. Once again earthly life is linked to eternal life through Jesus Christ, the victor over death. After four days, Lazarus returned to life! The significance is not so much that he returned to life, for Jesus had raised people from the dead before, but that Jesus is victor over death, Christus victor. In this passage, John makes sure that we know that Lazarus was not “mostly dead,” in the words of Mad Max in the Princess Bride, but “dead” dead! (Reference yesterday’s devotional if you missed it.) Put this in the context of Jesus’ words. “He who believes in me will never die.” Think about that. “Never” is an absolute word. If you believe in Christ, you will never die. Your loved ones who died in Christ are live in his presence even as you read this. No more glorious words have been spoken since the beginning of language. Is there life after death? Without a doubt! Jesus’ words couldn’t be clearer. Believe in him and live on in his presence, even when your body doesn’t!

You’ll recall when Jesus was a baby, Mary and Joseph took him to the old priest Simeon. Do you remember Simeon’s words about his own death? They were, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace.” He didn’t say “die in peace.” On the Mount of Transfiguration the same word was used in speaking of Jesus’ “departure” from this earth. Our bodies are simply transformed. When we die, we simply depart from this physical body. Sometime today or tonight, find a quiet place and talk to the Lord. “Jesus, I believe in you, and because of you, the real me will never die. I will only depart this life.” Instead of saying this Christian brother or sister died, we should say, “Brother Sam, sister Sarah has departed this life. We’ll see them later.”

Music: In Christ Alone   –Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, Allison Kraus

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song

This Cornerstone, this solid ground,

firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

when fears are stilled, when strivings cease

My Comforter, my All in All,

here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh,

fullness of God in helpless babe

This gift of love and righteousness,

scorned by the ones He came to save

‘Til on that cross as Jesus died,

the wrath of God was satisfied

For every sin on Him was laid,

here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay,

light of the world by darkness slain

Then bursting forth in glorious Day,

up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory,

sin’s curse has lost its grip on me

For I am His and He is mine,

bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death,

this is the power of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath,

Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man,

can ever pluck me from His hand

‘til He returns or calls me home,

here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

PRAYER: You are God and we praise you; you are the Lord and we acclaim you; You are the eternal Father; all creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, cherubim and seraphim sing in endless praise, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might; heaven and earth are full of your glory.’ Throughout the whole world the holy church acclaims you, Father of majesty unbounded; Your true and only Son worthy of all worship and the Holy Spirit advocate and guide. Come then Lord and help your people bought with the price of your own blood; and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting. Amen    –from Te Deum, 4th century