Summary: Thefive message in a series on the "I am" statements of Jesus from the book of John.
The Great I Am
June 20, 2004
I am the Resurrection and the Life
Review: We’ve been studying the self descriptive statements of Jesus from John known as the “I am” discourses. 7 statements Jesus made to help us to realize that He is the great “I am” of the O.T., who has become flesh in the N.T. to seek and to save each of us who are lost.
Trans: Today as we turn our attention to the 5th statement I was reminded of a funny story I heard about two boys playing together.
Intro: A pastor’s son and his friend were playing outside when they found a dead robin. They decided the bird deserved a proper burial and so they put him in a Kleenex box, dug a hole, and placed their feathered friend in the ground. The minister’s son was chosen to say a few words. Remembering what his father said at times like this, the boy proclaimed loudly, “Glory be unto the Faaather, and unto the Sonnn…and into the hole he goooes!”
Trans: I wonder if some of you feel like you’re in a hole today. Perhaps you’re hurting b/c someone close to you has recently died. Maybe a relationship has ruptured and you’re filled w/ a combination of rage and numbness. Sooner or later, each of us will experience disappointment, sickness, even death b/c they are a common heritage of being a descendants of Adam and Eve.
This AM I’d like to focus our attention on John 11, where we hear about a man named Lazarus who was very sick. His two sisters, Mary and Martha, were worried so they sent word to Jesus hoping He would come and heal their brother. Only Jesus’ response was much different than what they had expected. Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Yet when He heard Lazarus was sick, He stayed where he was 2 more days. Instead of hurrying to help, Jesus purposely waited. In the meantime, Lazarus died. (Read John 11:17-46)
Trans: Of all the “I am” statements this is the most ambiguous. While there is a definitive statement Jesus is making about Himself, I believe that Jesus being the “Resurrection and the Life” is not just a statement of His person, but a reality of His personhood meant to assist us practically in this life.
Trans: Thus, this AM, we are going to take a different approach to exegeting this text – we are going to discover in principle what Jesus meant when he declared Himself the “Resurrection and the Life.”
Note: Before we look at these principles, I want to discuss His declaration – “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” In this statement Jesus was making a decree of His power and authority over both physical and spiritual death.
Insert: These concepts are revealed in Jesus’ conversation w/ Martha (v. 22). It is important to understand that Lazarus was not resurrected – he was resuscitated and restored. He was raised from the dead.
Note: What is the difference? To resurrect is to redeem and transform into eternity never to die again. Jesus was resurrected – transformed through death into immortality. I Cr. 15 tells us that one day upon Jesus’ return we will all be changed – the mortal will put on immortality.
Lazarus didn’t come forth from the tomb w/ a new body never to die again, but w/ a restored body that would perish later in life. Nonetheless, this miracle certainly proves Jesus’ authority over life and death.
Note: Jesus intended this miracle to authenticate His claim to be God. After all, nothing authenticates divinity like revealing one’s authority over death.
Note: We see from their conversation understanding of the final resurrection in which those who have died in Christ will be raised into eternity. 1 Th. 4, tells us not all of us will die, but upon the Lord’s return the resurrection will take place – where the flesh will be transformed into in incorruptible body.
There is one important thing to note – the only way to experience the resurrection Jesus is speaking of is through His death, burial, and resurrection. Which means this – while God is concerned about your earthly life, it pales in comparison to His concern for your spiritual life.
We tend to focus on the here and now – on our empirical experiences in this temporary life. While Jesus death gives value and purpose to this life – His purpose for the incarnation, the cross, and the empty tomb was to rescue us from our sin and redeem us into an eternal relationship w/ Him.
Question: If Jesus were to return today, would you go or would you stay?
Note: As I have thought about this I have come to the conclusion that many people would prefer experiencing resuscitation over resurrection. How else do you explain man’s unending quest to conquer this life – whether you are talking about the fountain of youth or the Holy Grail – many people put a greater emphasis on this life over eternal life and yet according to God, this life is just a pit stop in the scope of His plan.