Summary: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” Rom 8:11.
Theme: Jesus, the resurrection and the life
Text: Ezek.: 37:1-14; Rom. 8:6-11; Jn. 11:17-24
God is love and He is always demonstrating His great love for us. The Word of God is all about His love. He loved us even we were separated from Him due to sin. He kept us out of the Garden of Eden out of love. We may not immediately see that His action was driven by love but if He had not done so man would have also eaten from the tree of life and would then live eternally in his sinful state without any possibility of redemption. God loved us and made our redemption possible by keeping us away from the tree of life. At the right time God redeemed us and gave us eternal life through Jesus, the resurrection and the life.
Sinful man needs a resurrection. He died spiritually when he disobeyed God. At his creation God breathed His life into man and he became like God. He had the image and likeness of God. He also had power of choice. His wrong choice led to spiritual death, a separation from God, the source of his life. Spiritual death was immediate and ultimately led to physical death. God loved man and it was not His will for any to die. He demonstrated His love by giving man the opportunity to be resurrected to a new spiritual life before his physical death. Without this new resurrected spiritual life man would be condemned to eternal death. Eternal death is separation from God forever.
God loved us so much that even when we were separated from Him He went to great lengths to restore us. The Scriptures graphically portrayed this in Ezekiel when God led the prophet to prophesy over the dry bones and they came to life. This prophecy was about bringing life out of death. It was literally fulfilled in the history of Israel when after 2000 years of persecution in exile they once more became a nation. No one believed this would ever be possible but God does the impossible. The Jews scattered all over the world with those who survived the horrors of Nazi Germany, became a nation and revived the Hebrew language that had been lost for 2000 years. The Jews were literally dead. 6 million died in the gas chambers of concentration camps. Ezekiel’s prophecy was fulfilled on May 15, 1948 when Israel emerged from the Second World War to become a nation with Hebrew as their language. The nation has since become a great army and has won many wars. After the 6 day war in 1967 Israel conquered the part of Jerusalem under Arab control and the West Bank and declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. God is life and the giver of life and can bring life out of death. No matter what is dead in us and no matter what is happening to us, God can bring life out of death.
The resurrection ushers us into eternal life. It is a free gift but Christ paid a great price to make it available to us. Christ bore the full judgement of God by His suffering and death to pay the penalty for sin as the Scriptures declare, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Christ took our sin and gave us His righteousness. Christ shed His blood for our justification. We become just as if we had never sinned because God has chosen not to remember our sin anymore because Christ bore the judgement that resulted from sin. The sacrifice of Christ justifies and sanctifies us. We are made holy and set apart to God and given access to His presence. Therefore we can confidently “draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. (Heb. 4:16)
Jesus has paid the price for sin and belief in Him makes us a new creation. Many people do not believe in Christ because they have never seen His glory or fail to see it. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick He did not immediately go to him. He waited till Lazarus died. The Scriptures tell us that it was because He loved Lazarus and his sisters. He wanted them to see the glory of God which was far more valuable than the death of Lazarus. When Jesus came to Bethany Mary and Martha and the mourners doubted His love. When He raised Lazarus from the dead, they saw His glory and understood His love. Lazarus was raised to physical life and would die again but when Christ raises us from the dead we have spiritual life. Our spirit is made perfect so that the Holy Spirit can live in us. His presence is our assurance that every part of our being will be resurrected. Christ has paid a great price for our salvation. It is a price no man is capable of paying and salvation is given as a gift to those who believe in Him.