Wednesday in the Twentieth Week of Ordinary Time

John 11:17-27

He Literally Is The Resurrection and the Life

Continuing from yesterday, Jesus arrives in Bethany, just two miles southeast of Jerusalem, from where many Jews had come to comfort the sisters.  Of course, funerals are important events in our lives, but they were much more so among the Jews of Jesus’ day.  Mourning was accompanied by much wailing and weeping, and crowds of mourners would gather around the family and stay for several days.  That’s what Jesus meets when he arrives in Bethany where Lazarus had already been dead for four days.

Upon hearing of Jesus’ arrival, Martha arrives first: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Then she adds, “But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”  Whatever Martha means, she does not mean that Jesus could or would raise Lazarus from the dead as is obvious from the conversation which ensues and her response to Jesus when he commands that the stone be rolled away from the tomb.  But let us turn our attention to the conversation between the two.  (I am indebted to the notes in my ESV Study Bible for some of my thoughts in this devotion.)  Jesus tells her that her brother will rise again, which she understands to mean “in the resurrection on the last day,” an orthodox belief that any Jew (minus the Sadducees) would have approved.  But Jesus’ response is one of the most crucial statements in all the gospels, even lies at the very heart of the gospel: “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?”

In these immortal words, Jesus says plainly that he is, in himself, both the Resurrection and the Life – not merely the cause or means thereof – but the very thing itself: Resurrection and Life.  We tend to think of Jesus as the means of getting somewhere, like to heaven or to the Father.  And in a very real sense, he is.  But he also is the thing itself: Not just the means to resurrection, but the Resurrection; not just the means to life, but the Life.  And we could add, the Grace, the Love, the Joy; indeed, the Everything.

One last point: Jesus says that our linkage to him is by believing in him.  And an interesting thing here is that the Greek word behind our word, “in,” is εις, which literally means, “into.”  The Greek language has a word for “in”; it’s εν, but Jesus didn’t use that word.  Jesus requires that we believe “into” him, which speaks of a more intimate and personal relationship than even, “in.”  May our faith and trust “into” him be so deep and personal.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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