Summary: Heaven is a prepared place but it is for prepared people.” Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord” declares God, “That they may rest from their labours” So to enjoy this promised rest and happiness you must “die in the Lord”. And if you die out of th
Life beyond Death and Man’s future destiny-part-4
Does the history of man terminate in the tomb? Is the grave a world of everlasting oblivion?
In today's reading, our text is taken from John's gospel chapter 11, we read about one of the most moving occurrence in the Lord's ministry. There is only one unique person ever in the world who called Himself “the Resurrection", “the Truth”, “the Way,” and “the Life” and He is the Alpha & Omega.
“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?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”(John 11:25-27)
Here we must pause and consider the meaning of these few powerful words, although they were spoken 2000years ago, they are recorded for our edification and comfort. When speaking with regards to Jesus position, relation & deity, we may be familiar of Christ using the words “I am" In the Gospel, Jesus declares:
1. John 6:35 "I am the bread of life...."
2. John 6:51 "I am the living bread..."
3. John 6:58 "I am the true bread..."
4. John 8:12 "I am the light of the world..."
5. John 8:18 "I am one who testifies for myself."
6. John 9:5 "I am the light."
7. John 10:7 ".I am the door for the sheep"
8. John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd...."
9. John 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the life...."
10. John 12:46 "I am the light that has come into the world..."
11. John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life...."
12. John 15:1 "I am the True Vine
And He has also declared that ‘before Abraham was, I am’, revealing His eternal existence (8.58). In all this He reveals His uniqueness as the Lord of glory. Note the emphasis in the sayings on life and resurrection. He has come as the life-giver and the Saviour. Truly ‘no man ever spoke like this man. ‘
When Jesus Christ was on his way to the grave of Lazarus, he proclaimed, “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.” (John 11:25-26) In a world of suffering and death, the words of Jesus transcend our life. Jesus first addressed these words to Martha of Bethany. This occasion is one that has profound meaning because Jesus shows clearly his emotions in the face of death, weeping openly over the death of his friend.
When Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life,” He was claiming to be the source of both. There is no resurrection apart from Christ, and there is no eternal life apart from Christ. Beyond that, Jesus was also making a statement concerning His divine nature. He does more than give life; He is life, and therefore death has no ultimate power over Him.
Let us take a journey to Bethany, a small village in Judea situated on the south eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, just three kilometers east of Jerusalem. The name Bethany itself meant "House of Dates." The story begins with a man named Lazarus who was sick with a deadly disease. This man was brother of Mary and Martha. He also had a close relationship with Jesus, as John specifically says that Jesus loved all three of them. Mary and Martha both went to Jesus to inform Him of Lazarus’ illness, hoping that He would heal him. Rather than heal him immediately, Jesus simply assures Mary and Martha that the illness will not end in death.
Lazarus finally succumbed to his illness and died. Jesus then goes to his disciples to inform them. He uses the euphemism of “fallen asleep” to state that Lazarus was dead and the metaphor “wake him up” to state that He intends to bring him back to life. Interestingly, Jesus’ disciples did not pick up on the figures of speech and thought that Lazarus had simply fallen asleep. They even said “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus then told them more directly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
By the time Jesus and His disciples finally got to Lazarus’ body, Lazarus had already been dead for four days. Martha says to Jesus that had He been with Lazarus, he would not have died. Jesus simply replies to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Jesus’ words were of no real surprise to Martha. Martha was fully aware of the Jewish doctrine of resurrection of the dead and she thought this was what Jesus was talking about. She say’s to Him, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Death is the enemy of man; but it is the glory of the Gospel of Jesus that it teaches us how we may meet this last enemy with triumph.