April 5, 2015 – Easter Sunday
By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
Pastor Ulrich’s friend, Doug, was killed at age 49 in a traffic accident on a motorcycle. A tragedy, yet his funeral was a celebration. How can a funeral turn into a party?
Jesus told us the answer in John 11:25-27 in comforting Martha and Mary in Bethany at the death of their brother, Lazarus:
“Jesus said to her [Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die….” (John 11:25)
1. Jesus IS the resurrection.
Jesus is the “I AM” of the resurrection. Our hope for the future is only found in Jesus Christ who lived a sinless life, who paid for our sins, who conquered the grave, and give His resurrection life to us.
Both Lazarus and Jesus: died, were in a tomb, and were raised to life. However, Lazarus still had on grave clothes (John 11:44). He was simply resuscitated to life on earth; he would die again. In contrast, Jesus’ clothes were left in the tomb, not needed because He was resurrected to eternal life, where death is defeated, earth restored, and He will reign again.
2. Jesus IS the Life.
“….whoever lives and believes in me will never die…” (John 11:25b)
Jesus Christ offers real life right now while we are alive, as well as eternal life. We have real life in Jesus…whether we live or die.
In our lives now, Jesus offers freedom from what enslaves us (“Luke 4:18,19), even the facades we think we need to maintain for our self-image. We are terrified that not only will we die, but also that we will never really live. Our attempts to live fully fall short: accumulation of stuff, even wealth, antidepressants, etc.
Jesus offers us real life, even in the midst of pain here on earth. Do we simply believe in future resurrection of our bodies, but have missed out on the joy and truth of this life, which Jesus offers us now?
The life of the believer with Jesus is So Much More….than simply life controlled by ourselves. God through His Son actually continually changes the lives of His children. That could be you today… As Jesus asked Martha, “Do you really believe this?” (John 11:25b)
3. As with Martha, Jesus is looking for the response of faith.
Jesus does not ask how you are going to earn faith, or ask you to try to become a better person with your actions or ideas. He simply asks you to believe within your entire self that resurrection (in the future) and life (on earth) are found in Him.
Martha’s response (John 11:27) to Jesus’ question about believing, says nothing about resurrection or life. She seems a bit fuzzy here. However, even though she did not have all the details worked out or figured out, she got it! She believed….
In the deaths of our loved ones, in the deaths of Christians around the world, do we rejoice in the hope and truth that they are indeed with Jesus, who IS the RESURRECTION?
In our present lives here on earth while we are still alive, do we daily experience by our changed lives, the Something More which Jesus offers, his REAL LIFE?