Saturday, August 20, 2011

August 21, 2011

Jesus did a lot in His brief three-year ministry. Do you want to know one think He never did? He never did a funeral!

As I am reading through John I am blessed as I am reminded of Who Jesus is! He is revealing Himself to His disciples and others who are paying attention. While they are hearing it for the first time, it is still good news of great joy as I reflect on it again. Thanks for joining me in this journey. I hope I have thrown a few blessings your way, too.

In Chapter 6 He fed the thousands with just a few loaves and a couple of fish and then revealed Himself as "The Bread of Life" and invites us to feed on Him!

In Chapter 9 He healed a blind man and introduces Himself as the "Light of the World".
Earlier  we reflected on the great truth of Jesus as our "Good Shepherd". We are well cared for! I quoted a friend who said, "When the Lord is your Shepherd the future is your friend!"

Each of those manifestations of His nature is significant. If only one of those was true it would be sufficient - BUT JESUS IS ALL OF THOSE! And more! Check out Chapter 11!

Jesus got one of those 9-1-1 calls. "Come quickly! Our brother Lazarus is deathly ill!" This plea came from His best friends, Mary and Martha. They lived in Bethany and it was a safe place where He could go and get ministered to. But He did something interesting - He headed the other way.

When I get one of those calls in the middle of the night I rush to the hospital or the home to bring comfort and support. Jesus didn't do that. He went back to Judea where He had just been rejected.

By the time He arrives in Bethany He is greeted by two grieving and disillusioned sisters. Martha greets Him with an accusation, "If you would have been here my brother would not have died!"

That certainly was true. But she was underestimating Jesus. Mary, Martha and Lazarus knew Jesus better than anyone and yet they underestimated Him. I have to admit that makes me feel better, because I am guilty of that.

Just when you think you know Jesus, He reveals something new about His nature. That is what He is about to do here. Mary and Martha knew what Jesus HAD done and defined Him in those terms. They were sure He could have healed Lazarus but they didn't reason that He could also resurrect him. How many times do I limit Jesus by expecting Him to respond in a predictable way? He is anything but predictble!

So, Jesus asked to be taken to the tomb. Mary and Martha are concerned because of the stench - he had been dead four days. They are thinking funeral, He doesn't do funerals. When He ordered the tomb to be open, they have "grave reservations". They are thinking about rotten odors He is thinking about resurrection! The tomb is opened and Lazarus is called forth. Since Jesus is Life, death has to obey! Lazarus comes walking out of the tomb! Jesus commands the grave clothes to be removed - Jesus is God of the living not the dead!

When He claimed that He is the "Resurrection and the Life" He meant it! Now we know for sure! As the Good Shepherd He give us "abundant life"! As the Resurrection He gives us eternal life!

So, what does this tell us about Jesus? He is bigger than life but also BIGGER THAN DEATH! He raised Lazarus from the dead (and others) before He submitted Himself to death on the cross. And when He rose from the dead, He conquered death for us! He truly became the "Resurrection and the Life"! Wow! What a Savior!

As one who still has to do funerals, I am thankful for the knowledge that Jesus is the "Resurrection and the Life". As one who has stood beside too many caskets and gravesides, I am glad I can point people to the hope of the "Resurrection and the Life".

Have you recently lost a dear one? Have you been overcome by the reality of death? Are you staring death in the face today?

I have good news of great joy! Jesus is the God of the living! There is no death in Him. When you live in Him you live in life! While in this life you live "abundant life" and then you simple move to REAL LIFE - eternal life!

So, welcome to life in a dying world! As you celebrate abundant life, breathe in a deep breath of His Life and live in hope of a life to come! Life is good! And it only gets better!